Members of the Northview High School Marching Knights took the field at Center Grove High School Saturday evening with heavy hearts.
Despite considering canceling the performance following the death of a band member, NMK staff and students elected to perform.
"We've lost kids in the past that we've been associated with," Northview band director Bob Medworth said. "But in my 32 years, I've never been through this."
The Marching Knights lost one of their own Thursday evening when 15-year-old Halie Hite, a guard members, was tragically killed in an automobile accident.
Fighting back tears on Sunday, Medworth said the death was "shocking."
The school elected to postpone its home football game from Friday to Saturday following the tragedy.
The band was scheduled to perform during the football game, but following the news, Medworth said the first thought that went through his mind was to cancel not only the performance at the football game, but the Marching Knights' performance at the Cavalcade of Champions at Center Grove Saturday.
"When it first happened, we didn't know what to do," Medworth said. "There's no band director guide to handle this."
However, Medworth said the students in the band wanted to perform in Halie's memory.
"The kids said that right away," he said.
Officials at Northview opened the school Thursday evening following the accident.
Medworth said band students went to the band room and sat there in disbelief.
He added coming to school Friday was not easy.
"At times, I heard kids crying in the middle of practice," he said. "That was hard to take."
Medworth said someone contacted the Clay County Humane Society and three puppies were brought to the school, which helped with the healing process.
As NMK staff attempted to find a way to help the students get through the ordeal, they witnessed how resilient the students were.
"We talked about how everyone grieves in a different way," Ruth Ann Medworth said. "But the kids want to be together."
"They figured out a way to get through it," Bob Medworth added.
During the Knights' home football game Saturday, players wore a sticker on their helmets in honor of Halie, who was also a freshmen cheerleader.
In addition, the band will wear armbands the rest of the year in her memory and members of the guard will wear hearts on their outfits.
Ruth Ann added Halie's spot in the show would remain empty for the rest of the year. But some things in the Marching Knights' show will be rearranged.
"We have to figure out a way to help them," Ruth Ann said.
Following performing at the football game Saturday, the Marching Knights made their way to Center Grove for an evening performance. The band came away with a victory, scoring an 80.50 while also winning awards for Music, General Effect and People's Choice.
"It was painful Saturday," Ruth Ann said. "We were running on adrenaline. The hurt was unbelievable."
But other bands helped the Knights get through the evening.
"Other bands gave cards and some had posters," Bob said, adding the drum majors with Avon created a three-ring binder of pictures from past Marching Knights' performances, which also included pictures of Halie.
"They did that on their own," Bob said.
Ruth Ann said Halie was also a member of the NMK guard while she was in middle school.
"She was a pretty seasoned performer," Ruth Ann said. "And she was an excellent cheerleader. I was looking forward to (working) with her. She was a fun girl.
"She was very outgoing and nice. She didn't know a stranger. She had confidence."
Bob said the plan currently is to keep moving forward.
"We've just got to go on," he said. "There will be more crying. This is a horrible part of life that we all go through at some level."
"We'll kind of take the kids' lead," Ruth Ann added.