Camryn Williams loved to bake cookies. Chocolate chip and oatmeal were her specialties.
“Everybody had to try them,” said Jordyn Sanders, a Brighton senior and one of her close friends.
“She was always cracking jokes,” said Brighton senior Angielynn Crawford, another close friend, with a smile. “She’d make faces when somebody would do something a little off. She’d give you that side eye.”
Williams, an 18-year-old senior at Brighton, died in a single-car accident in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 23, just 25 days away from her high school graduation. According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report, the 2008 Scion TC she was driving veered off Mt. Carmel Road and hit two trees.
The news hit students and faculty at Brighton High School hard. On Monday, friends of hers gathered to share their grief with counselors from across the county and share memories of their classmate. Cards were made in her honor and there was a lot of praying. The students went on walks and hit a punching back to relieve stress.
“When the kids saw each other Monday for the first time since it happened, there was a lot of grief, a lot of tears,” said Brighton principal Brian Crowson. “Eventually, they began telling stories to each other about Camryn and started smiling a little.”
On Tuesday afternoon a balloon release was held in front of the school with the student body and faculty members in attendance. After a preacher made a speech, the balloons were released. A group of students hugged one another and anguished screams broke the silence as the balloons drifted into the sky.
Williams was an excellent student. Ranked 16th in her class, she took AP and dual-enrollment classes in multiple subjects. She was a member of Mu Alpha Theta, FCCLA and the National Honor Society. Williams was employed at Dynamix in Covington and planned on pursuing a career in physical therapy.
“She was the smartest person I knew,” said Brighton senior Jayvon Lee, the boyfriend of Williams. “She was serious when you saw her, but she had a funny side … She was always there for you in hard times … When I first found out, I guess I was in denial. I just couldn’t believe it. I keep wanting to tell her things and then I realize she’s not here. It’s just unbelievable.”
On Tuesday, many students and faculty members wore yellow (It was Camryn’s favorite color) and others had yellow ribbons on their shirts. The hallways were noticeably somber.
“She had her core group of friends,” Crawford said. “She would talk to other people, but she wouldn’t be close to just anybody … It’s really hard. I’m just trying to remember the good stuff.”
Crowson said Williams will be honored at graduation. The cap and gown she tragically never got the chance to wear will be on display.
“She was super goofy, responsible, beautiful, caring, understood everything and never gave up,” said Sanders. “She was perfect. Everyone loved her.”
In another tragic accident over the weekend, Jacob Wright, a 21-year-old graduate of Covington High School, died in a car accident. His 2008 Nissan Rogue veered off Highway 51 and hit a tree on April 23 shortly before noon.