HICO — At the same stadium at which they graduated in August 2020, two former Midland Trail High School students were remembered on Sunday, Feb. 14, for their impactful — but far too short — lives.
MTHS 2020 graduates McKayla Kirk and Philip Dickerson were killed in a two-car crash on Friday on U.S. 19 in the Oak Hill area. A third person also died in the collision, which is under investigation.
During a well-attended ceremony which concluded with a candlelight vigil, Midland Trail teacher Milburn Pack, also a local pastor, said those gathered on a cold Valentine's Day evening were present "to honor and remember and pay tribute to two incredible young people."
"There's magic here tonight," said MTHS teacher and coach Jeff Eades. With the stadium lights planned to be dimmed later for a candlelight vigil, Eades said the "magic that represents the magic of McKayla Kirk and Philip Dickerson" would be evident. Eades told those assembled there is magic in memories, message and mantra.
Kirk was one of Midland Trail's 2020 summa cum laude graduates and was, among other things, a wrestler for the school's high school squad.
"Our class missed many milestones, so thanks for this graduation," Kirk said during her remarks at the school's Aug. 1 Covid-19-delayed commencement ceremony. Among items she stressed that day was that "you have to be motivated to be successful."
The hard-charging Dickerson played football and soccer for Midland Trail High. In a video shared on social media by one of his coaches and Dickerson's cousin, Charlie Pritt, Dickerson talked about, among other topics, how he felt about the people surrounding him.
"I love my family. I love God. I love friends," he said. "I love all of you (football teammates gathered around)."
Last week's crash occurred on Dickerson's 19th birthday.
Several of the Sunday evening speakers, including school and family representatives, said it is important for family, students and community members to lean on one another and on God in the coming days and weeks as they mourn.
"Any time there's a tragedy like we are dealing with, it's tough on all of us," MTHS Principal Richard Petitt said on Saturday. Petitt said he had had Kirk and Dickerson in school since they were in the sixth grade.
"The impact both of them had on the school in general didn't end (when they graduated)," Petitt said. "Many kids I know right now are hurting.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both of them."
A special remembrance service was held on Saturday at Sunday Road Baptist Church.
Fayette County Schools is providing extra counselors for Midland Trail students this week, Petitt said.
School officials are sponsoring several special memory day activities this week, as well.
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The Midland Trail Community Center is facilitating financial donations to assist the Dickerson and Kirk families during their time of tragedy. Donations can be made online at the GoFundMe page at https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/dickerson-and-kirk-families?utm_campaign=oc&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=crowdrise.
Donations may also be made by check and mailed to: MTCC, PO Box 446, Ansted, WV 25812 (add Dickerson/Kirk to memo line). All proceeds generated will benefit the families equally, organizers said.
All contributions are tax-exempt. Anyone with questions can call Nick Mooney at 304-640-8923.
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