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High schools hit by tragedy meet on the field

10:55 PM, Sep 7, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Two high schools hit by tragedy in the same week met on the football field Friday night.

Halftime at the Wolfson High School football game was more than a performance.

It was a way to remember Janay Jackson.

Jackson, 17, was killed last week, sleeping in her bed, when a van came crashing into her bedroom.

Jackson would have been leading the band and her best friend Michelle Givens as drum major.

"She would want us out here," Givens said. "I just keep thinking about her on that podium dancing crazy."

"It's all difficult," Jackson's father Gerald Jackson said. "It's hard to feel joy because of what they're doing, knowing that she can't be a part of this even though it's for her." 

Jackson's parents, Jerry and Felicia, were at the game.

For Felcia, who also attended Wolfson and was in the band, the familiar atmosphere comforting.

"I tell people this all the time 'cause they say how is it that you're so strong," Felicia Jackson said. "This helps keep it alive for me that so many people are supporting her and so many people loved her."

The school across the field, Sandalwood, was also grieving a loss of beloved teacher James Belyea.

"I think it brings a lot of love, everybody is wanting to cheer the team on," Givens said. "Everybody's hurting but we're here together and to lean on each other in support."

The band members stood in the shape of a heart with a "J" inside during their performance to show Janay will always remain in their hearts.

"I mean that's a lot of love shown here, Felicia Jackson said. "I mean, I have never seen this many people at a high school football game. And to know they came out because of that. That's great."

First Coast News

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