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Lodi High students gather to grieve for Stephanie Jones

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Posted: Friday, March 6, 2009 10:00 pm

More than 150 students gathered in Lodi High's gym on a cold and slightly overcast Friday morning to pray for one another and share in the loss of a peer.

Stephanie Jones

The campus' Christian Club opened its regular meeting up to the entire student body to grieve for junior Stephanie Jones, who died following injuries she sustained in a vehicle accident last weekend.

Club president Kyle Suess said he wanted to provide a place where everyone could gather together.

As student Troy Lee strummed his acoustic guitar, one line from a popular church hymn rang out: "All who gather here bless your name."

Many kept their heads bowed during the student-led singing while others held onto one another and openly shed tears.

Some wore cheerleading sweatshirts with Jones' first name listed in the first column, while others had on specially-made T-shirts like the one with Jone's famous quote: "I saved you some nachos … with extra cheese."

Although he didn't personally know Jones, Suess empathized with students.

Students form a prayer circle in the Lodi High gym during a memorial for Stephanie Jones organized by the campus Christian Club. Jones died Friday from injuries she suffered in a car accident last week. (Dan Evans/News-Sentinel)

"I just want you to know we'll be praying. Pray for the family … just lift up her soul," Suess told the students, who ended the 30-minute prayer meeting with a group hug in the middle of the gym floor.

He encouraged any of them to return to a future C Club meeting in the weeks to come.

"In times like this, it's a good thing to come together and be close," club adviser Jeff Palmquist said.

Grief counselors were available all day Friday, but Principal Bill Atterberry said students were instead bonding together and channeling their grief into positive things like fund-raising. Many also continued making T-shirts with Jones' artwork and collecting snapshots of her to give to her family.

Following last Friday's accident, Jones had been taken to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she remained in critical condition for much of the week.

According to Stockton police, the 16-year-old was riding in a vehicle and was ejected during a crash near Eight Mile and Thornton roads last Friday night, before being hit by another vehicle. She suffered a brain injury and was taken off life support Friday afternoon, a family member said.

Lodi Funeral Home will be handling the arrangements, and people are encouraged to drop photos and memorial posters off there. A memorial fund has been set up at the Downtown Lodi Bank of America.

"The family is very, very pleased at how much support they've received," Jones' aunt, Katherine Day, said. "Stephanie had support from Placerville, where she cheered for two years before coming to Lodi. People have just been here with us in the waiting room. They've been just great. Our hearts are full with so much love people had for her."

A Web site where students can post their remembrances has been set up at www.myspace.com/stephsfamlee.

The family would like to add that Jones, who was an organ donor, was able to save lives right there at the med center and elsewhere where people were waiting for donations.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 4:12 pm on Mon, Mar 9, 2009.


    The American way is to do good, even at the loss of life. She was an American hero who brought life to others as an organ donor. She created more than 1 miracle. Praise Be!

  • posted at 11:40 am on Mon, Mar 9, 2009.


    Over 3,000 Americans die each month due to automobile accidents, not counting the maimed and crippled. Its a dirty little statistic that GM and Ford sweep under the rug and ignored by the media. There has has got to be a better way to get to point A from point B. My heart breaks for Stephanie Jones.

  • posted at 8:15 am on Sun, Mar 8, 2009.


    Keep Christ the Center & all things work out for the GOOD. My sympathy goes to the Family of the Lost love one. Only the Spirit of Christ can heal the Grief & turn the mourn to JOY!!!

  • posted at 6:01 am on Sun, Mar 8, 2009.


    Also to add, a time for the students at LHS, to overcome the loss of a wonderful student, they cared for.

  • posted at 5:59 am on Sun, Mar 8, 2009.


    galgemini there are always learning lessons in life, some are harder than others. The people involved will have to live with this on them the rest of their lives, a hard lesson learned. As a young adult, we have all made really bad decisions. By the grace of God we are all still here, when probally with the stupid stuff we did, should be gone. With juveniles there is always room for forgiveness, since they are still young at mind, and due not make proper decisions. This right now is not the time or place, to make a learning lesson, that will come later. Right now is the time to pray for stregnth the family will need to overcome the loss of there daughter, they loved so much.

  • posted at 5:25 pm on Sat, Mar 7, 2009.


    Lets try to focus on THIS article, and whats really important, and thats the LHS community pulling together in the aftermath of this tragedy.

  • posted at 4:15 pm on Sat, Mar 7, 2009.


    galgemini, there is a time and place for all "learn lessons" to happen. This is not the time nor the place. Please let these CHILDREN grieve in peace.

  • posted at 2:47 am on Sat, Mar 7, 2009.


    Kyle spoke such good true words at our C-Club meeting. It was very good for anyone who wanted to meet there that morning, to meet there. It really brought people together to grieve for the loss of a fellow classmate. My heart goes out to the family. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • posted at 1:49 am on Sat, Mar 7, 2009.


    Kyle,you have done good in your life.keep the faith.

  • posted at 1:13 am on Sat, Mar 7, 2009.


    This is the day that the Lord hath made.Let us rejoice and be glad.

  • posted at 1:11 am on Sat, Mar 7, 2009.


    My condolences go out to the Jones Family.A campus Christian Club in a public school. Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!!



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