Students attend candlelight vigil for classmate Allison Eastham
Shortly after the Ironton Christmas Parade concluded Monday, family, friends, classmates and band members gathered at Rotary Fountain in downtown for a candlelight vigil, put on by the Ironton High School student council, in honor of Allison Eastham.
Allison, a sophomore at Ironton High School, died Friday at Cabell Huntington Hospital after being admitted for the flu and double pneumonia.“It’s a difficult night made even more difficult by the rain,” Jeff Sanders, Ironton High School band director, told everyone at the vigil. “I’m not from Ironton, but my first day here was my first day at the high school. I can tell you that there’s no town like Ironton and there are no schools like the Ironton schools. I’m glad to see so many of you here.”
Everyone with their candles huddled by a tent that was set up with a table and a poster made to honor Allison.
“She had a lot of potential,” Sanders said. “She was just getting an opportunity to really come out of her shell and be herself.”
Allison played the trumpet in the band and loved everything about it.
“The band was one of her main hobbies and like a second family to her,” senior Luke Davis, band field commander, said. “Her spirit in the band was unmatched and her dedication was unlike any that we’ve seen in years.”
At school Monday, her sophomore classmates put notes of all of the good things they will remember about her on her locker, band members left messages on her band chair and purple bracelets were sold because that was her favorite color.
“We gently picked on her about being a red head,” Sanders said. “But she definitely had that fire and we will miss her liveliness and spark of life that she brought everyday.”
During the parade, the band performed in the “missing man formation,” which left Allison’s spot empty.
“Nothing can make this easy. This is the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to go through,” Carisa Collins, Allison’s mother, said. “But seeing all of the support makes it a little better. It’s been absolutely amazing to see how my daughter affected and touched the lives of so many others. It’s unbelievable to see all of these people out here in the cold and rain to support her. There has been overwhelming support from the community, schools and band. We want to thank everyone that was here or that donated to show their love and support.”