GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Jacovan Savoie was a talented football player and honor student with a promising future. Now, Kilgore High School students and faculty are trying to make sense of his death.
The Gregg County Sheriff's Department says Savoie was swimming with friends in a private pond off FM 349 and Highway 259 when he drowned.
Savoie left quite a mark on the Kilgore High School campus and in the life of everyone he met.
"He was always happy, always smiling, always going to church," said close friend Jordan Henderson.
Jacovan Savoie had only been at Kilgore High about a year, but you would think he had gone there his whole life. Students say he was friends with everyone - his smile contagious.
"Always smiling, always touching somebody's heart and I know when a lot of people die they be like, you know, they're angels but he truly was an angel because can't nobody say nothing bad about him," said Henderson.
For friends there is now an empty void.
"I woke up and realized he wasn't there and it was real and it hurt...I just keep hoping he'll walk in through those doors," said Henderson.
Memories are everywhere - like Savoie's jersey and equipment. His head football coach says they have decided to keep his locker untouched, in his honor.
"Great in the classroom, one of the hardest working kids we got on the field every day, then when he leaves here he goes and he works at night...and I'm the one that's thankful for having the opportunity to be able to coach a kid like that," said Kilgore Head Coach Mike Vallery.
Tuesday students wrote farewell messages and leaned on one another. Henderson says his example has brought everyone closer together.
"I feel like his death is going to bless a lot of people and it's going to save a lot of people...It's time to get my life right, it's time I start helping other people get their self right because he was a leader whether he knew it or not," said Henderson. "He was a leader and he changed me."
"[He] was seeing some great success in his life," said Kilgore Superintendent Jody Clements. "We were looking forward to him being able to graduate next year and move on with those things. It's going to be hard. It's going to be a tough time for our kids to get over."
But Henderson believes this tragedy is part of a bigger plan, and he says Savoie is in a far better place.
"God says in his word he takes a righteous man," said Henderson. "He takes them out of evil and brings them into good, and that's I feel like he done, took him out of an evil world just to show us, just to open up our eyes and to me that's a great sacrifice."
Savoie lived here with his uncle because his family in the Beaumont area was displaced by a hurricane. A fund has been set up to help with funeral costs. You can donate to the Austin Bank in Kilgore under Savoie's name.