Arab Jr. High struggles with death of classmate - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Arab Jr. High struggles with death of classmate

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ARAB, AL (WAFF) -

For the students at Arab Junior High School, Monday's lesson turned from math and science to life and death; it is a lesson that's not easy to teach or learn, but one that became necessary after they suddenly lost one of their own.

Taigen Black, a seventh grader celebrating her 13th birthday with her grandparents in Atlanta, lost her life in a car wreck there Sunday afternoon. That news left a large hole in the hearts of her extended family when they returned to class Monday.

School counselor Tanya Beard described Taigen as "somebody who tried to cheer others and give that encouraging word." Beard encouraged students to write down their feelings, including an emotional moment in one of Taigen's classes.

"One student got up when he finished and placed his letter on her desk, and that desk remained empty all day," said Beard.

Hearts were empty as well, such as those of Taigen's teammates on the seventh grade girls' basketball team, which met Monday morning.

"We were all sad. We were able to lean on each other and talk to each other because we're all going through the same thing," said teammate Anna Katherine Griggs.

Her teammates have adopted three letters: PFT – Play For Taigen. They will take that thought and those markings into the season.

"We sort of wanted something that can show that Taigen practiced with us all summer and we want to go into the game with the same attitude she had," said Griggs.

It's an attitude that the team, the school, and the whole community needs to hang onto right now.

Taigen's grandparents both survived the crash. They are recovering in Atlanta. Taigen's funeral arrangements are still pending.

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