Taegu American mourns loss of star alumna Grant
Stars and Stripes September 28, 2006
Editor’s note: This story was originally published September 28, 2006.
Three days after the death of sports hero and alumna Lynnette Grant, Taegu American School took on an air of subdued sadness as classes resumed Monday.
“It was really quite sad,” said guidance counselor George Speer by telephone from the school on Camp George, South Korea, on Tuesday afternoon. “Really subdued. The halls were quiet. And it’s still that way today.”
He spoke four days after three-sport star Grant, who graduated in June, died in a car wreck during a heavy rainstorm Friday afternoon in Alexander City, Ala. Grant was just starting her freshman year at Jacksonville State University and was traveling to visit her sister in Montgomery when she was killed.
As classes resumed, Speer said, students and school staff spoke about her contributions to the school and community and how suddenly her life ended.
“Kids at this age always believe they’re going to live forever, they believe they’re invincible,” Speer said. “So when things like this happen, it’s even more of a double-whammy shot, especially one who is so athletically talented, outgoing and personable.”
Grant was the kind of person whom everybody liked, Speer and one of Grant’s former classmates said. She didn’t let the success of her Far East Class A volleyball and basketball MVP awards go to her head; she was all about team and its successes, they said.
“She was MVP of every sport she was in. She was smart. She was pretty. Everybody looked up to her,” said senior Jesse Covan, who was a Warriors softball teammate. “She was such a strong person. She had everything going for her. Nobody would expect something like that to happen to her.”
While the mood Monday and Tuesday was subdued, emotions were visible throughout the community when news of Grant’s death came Saturday.
“That was the worst,” Speer said, noting that the news came out just before the Warriors volleyball teams were to play Saturday morning. “A lot of her friends were on the team. That was extremely emotional. Needless to say, they weren’t really into the game.”
Emotions flowed freely at church on Sunday. Grant and her family were very active in church, said Michelle Chandler, the school’s athletics director.
“A lot of those who don’t go to church showed up there and it was very emotional,” Chandler said. “Sunday was hard, but it was important. We were there to embrace, hold and comfort each other. I drew strength from that.”
The weekend’s emotions gave way to questions as the school week began, said Speer, who overheard and talked to a great many who said: “I can’t believe it happened. Why did it happen? and Why her?”
“It’s really not a good answer for any of them,” Speer said.
“She’s affected so many lives,” Covan said. “We feel that she’s still with us in spirit.”
Already, there’s talk of putting a likeness of Grant’s No. 23 jersey into a frame and replicas of her MVP trophies into the school’s trophy case, said Chandler, adding that the school’s booster club is likely to discuss establishing a scholarship fund in Grant’s name at its next meeting on Oct. 4.