Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School students are returning to classes without two of their own: 17-year-old Kayleigh Parker and 19-year-old Hannah Furtick.
“They were best friends,” said Furtick’s mother, Stephanie Jones.
The two students died early Sunday morning in a head-on collision with a Freightliner tractor-trailer on U.S. Highway 78.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Assistant Principal Denny Ulmer said that an area will be set aside for students so they can receive grief counseling from guidance counselors and school psychologists.
“They were sweet girls,” Ulmer said.
“This is a terrible loss for our community and school,” he added.
Ulmer said counseling will be provided to students as long as it’s needed.
At 3 p.m. Wednesday, a joint funeral service will be held for Parker and Furtick at the school.
Patti Hughes, Parker’s grandmother, described her as “outgoing, very friendly.”
“She was just willing to help anybody that she could. She was just a wonderful grandchild,” Hughes said.
“She also loved working puzzles with her granddaddy.”
Parker was a dancer with Mary Jane’s School of Dance in Orangeburg and worked at Little Howard’s in Bamberg.
Furtick was “loving, outgoing and happy,” Jones said.
“She just started working at Superior Cleaners and getting ready to graduate,” she added.
Jones said her daughter was “just one test away from being done with high school.”
Her ambition was to become a nurse. She planned to start her classes at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in the fall.
“She loved music and she loved her friends,” Jones said.
The accident remains under investigation by the S.C. Highway Patrol.