Loris Middle School lost one of its own over the weekend in a car accident. And for parents, teachers and kids returning Monday, it was reminder of how short life can be.
TJ Martin was a popular kid at Loris Middle. Students and faculty there can't remember ever losing a student before, so it's all a little new for them.
An eerie silence swept the school's rotunda Monday.
A single chair and desk sat in the middle, symbolizing the school's one student who will never return.
Yellow flowers and a school jersey draped the display. Students, teachers and parents had the chance to sign a book.
Some simply signed their names. Others left personal notes.
It was Saturday night, just around 11 when the car TJ was riding in ran off the road and into a tree.
He was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the car.
For moms picking up their children Monday, the loss hit home.
"As a mother, it's crushed me. Now, I don't want my daughter to leave my side. I mean, he was only 13, you know? It's just not fair. But right now, we all have to come together as a community and help this mom through," said Karen Beauregard, whose child attends Loris Middle School.
The principal told us TJ's classmates are reacting as you would expect. They're asking a lot of questions but sticking together.
The school is asking everyone to wear purple to school on Wednesday. It was TJ's favorite.
Visitation for TJ will be Tuesday night at Goldfinch Funeral Home in Conway from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm.
Then on Wednesday, funeral services are set for 11:00am at Goldfinch, with burial following at Hillcrest Cemetery in Conway.