Under the starry night out in Rudderville, more than 200 stood huddled together in the parking lot and on the steps of Page High School – celebrating the life of Savanna Biles.
Photos of Biles living her life flashed on the projector screen. Biles had a vivacious life, from family vacations to the prom to funny Snapchat screenshots of her living life in the moment. Her favorite color was tie-dye, and her favorite drive-thru restaurant was Chick-fil-A. During her Monday morning commute to school, Biles misjudged a curve on South Carothers Road and struck a tree with her car.
“She would thump me between the eyes for wanting to cry right now,” Page High School graduate Annabelle Goodman said from the podium. “There was nothing short of contagious with her smile.”
Her friends shared times with Biles driving around aimlessly; attempting to drive a shift stick manually down the interstate as a joke; her infectious laughter; and her deep devotion to her relationship with God.
“You had the most authentic soul,” senior soccer player Caitlyn Sutton said in a letter she wrote to Biles. “The last 24 hours I’ve had time to reflect and mourn your loss. You didn’t care what anyone thought of you, and you always did what you wanted. We used to talk about heaven together. And I know you’re up there in heaven shaking your curly head of hair right now because I am crying. Her faith was so strong, and I know she’s in heaven right now.”
Her youth pastor from Full Life Assembly of God echoed similar sentiments. Simon Davenport said he watched her evolve in her faith, always questioning and figuring out the answers for herself, not just accepting the norm.
“She was a strong Christian,” he said. “Her faith wasn’t the faith of her family or something she did because she was supposed to do it. She trusted in Jesus. There was something different in how she approached God.”
A family member has also set up a GoFundMe to help the family with expenses. The goal is to raise $8,000.
Biles’ death is the fourth loss of a student to a car accident since Thanksgiving for the Williamson County School system. Centennial lost senior Jim Cheek in an accident in Dickson County. Summit High School lost former student Morgan Fell after a car accident in Alabama. Riath Al-Shawi of Ravenwood died after a wreck in South Nashville.
Williamson County lost two current and one former Centennial High School student last Christmas due to a car accident in Carters Creek, where the vehicle was submerged and the three drowned.
In reaction to the amount of grief and tragedy, Williamson County Schools has launched a task force.
WCS Special Projects Manager Dr. Angela Huff will head up the group, which will examine ways to prevent crashes like the ones that recently killed students.
“It is our intention to bring together representatives internal and external to Williamson County to identify possible resources, solutions, legislative action and materials, for the purpose of keeping our students safe while driving,” Huff said. “Our goal is to help students understand the importance of slowing down, buckling up and eliminating all distractions. This forum will be an opportunity for organizations to hopefully partner with us to lessen the number of student deaths while driving.”
Those with the expertise who want to serve on the WCS Task Force to Improve Teen Driving should contact Huff at (615) 472-4016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily West covers Franklin, education, and the state legislature for the Franklin Home Page. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22.