Harmony ISD students are remembering a classmate they say was the life of their school. Brody Stuart was about to start his senior year at Harmony High School. School officials say Stuart and fellow student Haley Blackstone were driving to cheerleading practice Thursday morning when they were involved in a crash.
DPS says Stuart and Blackstone were hit head-on by another vehicle on Highway 154 just west of Gilmer. Blackstone was treated and released from a Gilmer hospital. Stuart passed away in a Tyler hospital as surgeons tried to save his life.
Brody's friends say the community just lost the happiest and kindest person they knew.
"No matter what you were interested in, he was the kind of person that you could be friends with, no matter who you were," says Kalle Riner, a recent Harmony High School graduate.
Riner and others gathered Thursday night inside the Harmony High School gym to remember Stuart.
"We were all crying when we found out. Then after a couple of hours, we all talked and started sharing good memories about Brody to try to make us laugh, but it's still very tough," says Nicolle Barncord, one of Brody's friends.
Barncord says Brody would not want his friends to cry.
"He always had a smile on his face. When he walked in the room, he would make everyone happy and would hug everyone."
"He was always brightening everyone's day. He was so charismatic and lovable and fun," says Riner.
Brody Stuart was very involved in school and was Harmony High School's first male cheerleader.
"He was always heavily involved in gymnastics in Gilmer. He was really good at it; I mean amazing, Olympic-style. So whenever he was trying out for cheerleader, it didn't surprise me at all. I knew he would be an excellent cheerleader," says Riner.
"He was probably like the heart of our school. He's funny and charming and goofy and it's really a tragedy that he passed away," says Barncord.
A tragedy Riner says Brody's family is taking hard.
"My heart goes out to them because they were so close and I just know that it's really a loss for them."
Brody's friends hope the happy memories that are helping them smile today will give Brody's family peace in the future.