Services for PLAS student will be held today

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 21, 2003

Pike Liberal Arts School is cloaked in an aura of sadness and grief today.

One of its own has been lost.

Amber Lockley died Thursday night as a result of a car accident and will be buried at 11a.m. today at Shiloh Baptist Church.

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The ninth grade class at PLAS will be honorary pallbearers.

"This is a sad time for all of us," said PLAS Headmaster Larry Pickett. "The funeral will be a very emotional experience and I'm not sure how the kids will handle it."

Pickett said the student body is a close-knit "family" and two of the classes are "deeply" affected by the tragedy.

Amber's sister, Alecia, who was injured in the accident,

is a 10th grader at PLAS and Pickett said the past week has been especially emotional for the students in those two classes.

"They have not had to face anything like this before and it's pretty emotional for them," he said. "Amber's class has 38 students in it and they are all very close. They are helping each other to cope and we've had conferences with the kids. I've been going room to room witnessing. The kids are quiet and not saying a lot. They don't think anything like this can happen until it does happen."

The ninth and tenth grade students will go from home straight to the church and will not be required to report to classes after the funeral.

However, ballgames against Fort Dale Academy will be played.

"Our first thoughts were to cancel the games but the students wanted to go ahead and play," Pickett said. "They felt like it would help to keep their minds off what has happened."

Pickett said Amber was an excellent student and well-liked by her classmates.

"I had Amber in advanced algebra last year and she was a straight 'A' student," he said. "You couldn't ask for a finer young person. She was the kind of student who never gives you any problems. She was a joy to have around and will be greatly missed at PLA."

Pickett said Amber and Alecia were very close and he is concerned about Alecia.

"This has to be very tough on her," he said.

Trecy Gray, school office manger, said whenever Amber and Alecia were in the halls, they were always together.

"We will do everything we can to help Alecia cope with this," she said. "When she comes back to school, she will come back to people who care about her. We are all family here."

Gray said Amber cared about people.

"Amber was an organ donor and her parents were told that about 50 people will have a second chance at life or for a better quality of life because of her," Gray said. "That would have made Amber proud."

Pike Liberal Arts has had more than its "fair share" of tragedy.

"Amber is the fourth student who lost her life as the result of a car accident," Pickett said. "On either side of the walkway to the school, there are memorials. One is for Lauren Austin and the other is for Denise Cahoon. Inside, there is a memorial to

Matt Scarbrough. I'm sure something will be planned for Amber and, hopefully, there'll never be another."