GREENWOOD, Texas — August 27 marks a week since Greenwood High School student, Jenna Bird, passed away in a car accident on her way to school. Jenna would have been a sophomore on the JV volleyball team.
Tuesday night was the high school’s first home game since her passing. At the game purple, Jenna's favorite color, was everywhere you looked, from writing on the player's shoes, to fans shirts in the stands.
During warm ups, all the players were sporting shirts that said, "Playing for #7." For the team, that message is going to last all season long.
“We dedicated this whole season to her and every time we break out we say we play for 7 or something similar to that," said Mattie Huber, a senior varsity volleyball player at Greenwood High School. "We just play for her.”
The tragedy has tested the Greenwood community and young players.
"I’ve seen a ton of growth program-wide from the freshman team to the varsity team," Callie Stewart, head volleyball coach at Greenwood High School said. "They’ve had to go through something that not a lot of people have to go through."
She said the team is going to come out on top despite what they have gone through.
"They’ve got a renewed sense of passion and vision for everything that they’re doing," Stewart said.
The team’s motto is rise up, and not only do they plan on rising up this season, they plan on flying like a bird.
“Our team's goal is to rise up to the occasion, whatever that may be," Stewart said. "In this case, it’s been rise up to support each other to show love to the Bird family, to extend a hand in anyway we can."
For volleyball players like Huber, that means never taking a moment for granted.
“It’s definitely a good reminder to live in the present," Huber said. "You never know what God's plan is, and it’s always going to be good in the end.”
Coach Stewart says the experience has taught her that every day and moment is precious.
"We need to wake up and be grateful for what we have and move forward with just a renewed sense of life," Stewart said. "We’re all in this together.”
The varsity volleyball team would like to think Jenna had a part in their 25 to 22 win against Seminole High School Tuesday night.
“She was in our hearts today, and we won that game for her,” Huber said.