Over 600 candles glowed for Shelby D. Johnson and Logan Deardorff Monday night as friends, family, peers, teachers and other community members stood singing "Amazing Grace" in the auditorium of the Tecumseh High School Alumni Center.
All seats were filled and the walls were lined with people who came to honor Shelby and Logan, who were killed in a car accident over the weekend.
Tears were shed as Jerry Kuhn, husband of THS teacher Kelli Kuhn, began the vigil. The pastor of The Hill Church and father of three spoke about how valuable Logan, Shelby and their peers were to the community.
"You are our treasures. You are valuable to us as a community...how do we move forward after losing two of our valuable treasures," Kuhn said.
He urged members of the crowd to seek answers through God and to stand together as a community.
"We are Tecumseh and we are Tecumseh strong," Kuhn said.
Next to speak was THS part time teacher Debbie Humphery, who lost her own son Jason in 2008 to a car accident.
The mother offered her condolences and advice to the community on how to help others grieve and the Johnson and Deardorff families move forward.
"Tell others what you need and ask them for help. Allow people to respond to this tragic incident in their own way," Humphery said. "Show grace..."
Drawing from her own experience, the educator encouraged community members to tell humorous stories about Logan and Shelby and provide new photos to the parents.
"The grief of a parent who's lost a child doesn't go away," she said.
Humphery also asked people to donate money to the Johnson and Deardorff families for funeral and other such expenses.
According to the educator, donations are being collected at the school throughout the week and will be split between the two families.
Last to speak was full time substitute teacher at THS and lead pastor at United Pentecostal Church, Vance Bowman, who spoke about the couple's passions and personalities.
"Shelby was a great student...she was a great friend...she could quote almost any Vine she'd seen. She would watch true crime shows...She was a gifted photographer...and she had great taste in music," Bowman said.
With tears in his eyes, Bowman went on to explain Shelby, a junior, was a talented dancer and had dreams and plans to become a marine biologist.
He quoted lyrics from Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance," a popular song when Shelby was born, to express how he thought Shelby would've addressed the community.
"I think Shelby would say I hope you dance," he said.
Next the pastor went on to express his regard for Logan, who worked at FireLake Grocery store. Logan completed high school last semester and was planning his graduation walk with his fellow seniors in May.
Bowman explained how he'd look out for Logan and listened to him talk about his passion for cars.
"I think (Logan) would tell you to rev up the engine...pop the clutch...I think he'd tell you to dream big and go get them," Bowman said.