Khalia Smith gets outpouring of support after tragic accident

Published 1:46 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

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HELENA – As they gathered on the football field at Helena High School Friday morning, April 28, the heart of the school’s student body was heavy.

Just 24 hours after the news was shared that classmate and HHS senior Khalia Smith had died tragically just weeks before graduation, students gathered in her honor at a special prayer vigil.

Amidst this tragedy, many people in attendance of the vigil were brought to Christ in a truly miraculous event.

“I am at a loss of words for the tragedy that has struck Helena,” Senior Peter Haywood said. “I have always heard the stories and been told that tomorrow is never promised, but today I was reminded to hold my family extra tight and make sure I am right with God all the time. Although we are filled with despair, confusion, anger, and many more emotions, it is through the Lord that we will find peace. A prayer circle was started, but one thing led to another, and we had a revival in the auditorium.”

In the midst of this revival, many emotions were felt by students as they stood side by side with one another, arms around each other and completely submerged in prayer. From this tragedy came a sense of beauty.

“I can’t even imagine how the Smith family feels right now, but it is so important to lift them up in prayers,” Haywood said. “I thank God for what he did today, but I also want to make sure that we remember why the revival happened. Please make sure that you not only thank God for what he is doing, but first and foremost you pray for the Smith family. Khalia, we love you forever and can’t wait to see you in heaven. Rest easy, Khalia Smith.”

Haywood said that about 40-50 salvations occurred during the revival held for Khalia Smith, and many found a sense of peace during this tragic time.

Helena High School Teacher Jake Huggins had Khalia in his fifth period class and took time to remember Khalia fondly and speak to who she was as a student, a person and the light she seemed to bring to each and every situation in Helena High School.

“She was beautiful inside and out, sweet, always kind, enjoyed participating in class discussions and even her resting face was a hint of a smile,” Huggins said. “She was outgoing and confident, yet humble and gentle. She was focused and determined to succeed, yet always looking out for others who might be a little less focused and determined to succeed. She was opinionated, yet friendly to all around her.”

Huggins said like many people in the Helena community during this time, he is deeply wrestling with the grief and loss that comes with this tragedy. Huggins will take a day off and when he returns to school, said he feels there will be days where he is felt a mess by his grief.

“But one thing gives me a small bit of peace,” Huggins said. “Is that is that Khalia left this world on good terms. She didn’t leave burned bridges. She didn’t leave broken relationships. She didn’t leave the world a darker place. Rather, she left the world a good deal brighter just by being her. She was here, is still here. Her mark is everywhere you go. As cliché as it may sound, she is still with us in every smile, hug, laugh, or shared moment with a friend or stranger. She left this world on good terms. She left it a much better place.”

It was one of many ways support has been shown to Smith and her family in the difficult hours since the accident.

“They had a balloon release at the end, so if you see a balloon over Helena then remember her,” Woodman said. “A heart felt event for grieving students. Khalia will be missed.”

There were 300 students gathered together to remember Smith at the prayer vigil. Many students stood hand in hand during the vigil, comforting one another during the difficult time.

Khalia’s uncle, Leonard A. Smith, took to Facebook to remember his niece and the plans she had for graduation.

“Good evening my Facebook family,” Smith said. “I solicit your prayers on tonight. My beautiful great niece Khalia Smith was tragically killed in a single car accident last night, while driving home from a friend’s home. Her car went off the road and hit several trees according to the police report. She was 18 years old and a senior in high school looking forward to her graduation. Please lift her mother LaQuita M. Perry, her father, her siblings and also my brother William Smith and his wife Sharron Smith, along with the rest of my family in your prayers. But pray especially for her mom. This is devastating for her as any mother can only imagine. Rest well sweet angel.”