Her smile. Her laugh. Her blue eyes. The way she always told it like it was.
Those are what Mohawk students say they will miss most about 18-year-old Audrey Marie Perkins.
“If you didn’t know her, she made a point that you knew who she was,” Mohawk senior Courtney Kieffer said. “She was one in a million. Always smiling.”
“Economics class will never be the same without her,” senior Nikki Kieffer added.
Perkins was killed Tuesday morning when the car she was driving struck a utility pole and split in half on CH 16 in Sycamore Township.
The senior class led hundreds of students, parents and school staff on a solemn walk to the track in honor of Perkins, who was a member of the school’s track team. The Perkins family stood in the center of a large circle of supporters as everyone held candles and released balloons in Perkins’ memory.
“Thank all you guys for coming,” said Ryan Perkins, Audrey’s brother. “It means the world to me and I know it would mean the world to my sister.”
Many of the students held hands, hugged and wept as they watched the balloons float away.
“She basically told you how it was,” senior Danielle Tyree said about her friend. “She wasn’t scared if anybody judged her. She didn’t care what anybody said.”
“She’d always hug you and give you a kiss on the cheek and say, ‘I love you,’” senior Elizabeth DeTray added. “She’d go to random strangers
She was always there when you needed something.”
Students met with counselors throughout the day Tuesday as they learned of the tragedy.
“There was a lot of sadness here,” Mohawk Superintendent Ken Ratliff said.
Counselors from area schools were brought in to help in the effort.
“We had a total of 10 counselors and some of the teachers were made available for the kids to talk to,” Ratliff said. “Some kids just want to talk to certain people and we wanted them to be able to grieve. The teachers and administrators will be here for the kids and we will provide whatever they need.”
While sporting events all were canceled Tuesday, the senior awards program went on as scheduled, as Ratliff said that was what Perkins’ classmates wanted.
“The senior class, they wanted to be together,” Ratliff said.
“We will pull together and support one another, while we acknowledge the successes of our senior students,” Principal Carol Koehler said.
The program began with a moment of silence. Most of the 57 seniors sat together wearing T-shirts with the words “The world’s not ending. We’re just taking over” printed on the back.
By CHANDA NEELY