Family, classmates mourn loss of JA senior in tragic Ridgewood R - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Family, classmates mourn loss of JA senior in tragic Ridgewood Rd. car crash

Frances Anne Fortner was killed Thursday in the crash while she was on the way to graduation rehearsal at Christ United Methodist Church when she reportedly hit an uncovered manhole and flipped her mother's red convertible. Source: Fortner family Frances Anne Fortner was killed Thursday in the crash while she was on the way to graduation rehearsal at Christ United Methodist Church when she reportedly hit an uncovered manhole and flipped her mother's red convertible. Source: Fortner family
" She pulled people in with her charisma and beauty, but they stayed for her deep passion for others and her excitement for possibility." Source: Frances Fortner Facebook " She pulled people in with her charisma and beauty, but they stayed for her deep passion for others and her excitement for possibility." Source: Frances Fortner Facebook
A graduation diploma will be presented for Frances Anne at graduation. Source: JA classmates A graduation diploma will be presented for Frances Anne at graduation. Source: JA classmates
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The parents of a Jackson Academy senior have released a statement following the tragic death of their daughter in a car crash on Ridgewood Road Thursday; just one day before she was set to graduate from high school. 

Statement from Laurilyn and Tom Fortner about their daughter, Frances Anne Fortner:

Frances was the light of our lives and we are devastated by her loss.  As all who knew her are aware, she was a smart, talented and beautiful young lady who was also kind, generous and funny.  The most important thing in her life were her many friends at Jackson Academy and throughout the community.  We are so grateful for them, for the outpouring of love and support shown by so many people in response to this tragedy, and for the 18 years we shared with our precious and irreplaceable daughter. 

Frances loved ballet and danced from the age of 3.  She joined Ballet Mississippi when the family moved to Jackson in 2009 and became a principal dancer, appearing in many roles during her tenure.  She was artistically talented and won or was recognized in many school-level and district art competitions.  This past year, she served as editor of the Jackson Academy student newspaper and had been accepted to attend the University of Missouri and its prestigious  journalism school in the fall.  She loved animals and was especially fond of children, who returned her affection.  She was a member of St. James’ Episcopal Church, where visitations are planned for Friday, May 25, 5-7 p.m. and Saturday, May 26, at 2 p.m. with the funeral at 3 p.m. Saturday at St. James' and a reception to follow in Fowler Hall. 

RELATED: Jackson Academy senior dies in crash one day before graduation

18-year-old Frances Anne Fortner was killed Thursday while she was on the way to graduation rehearsal at Christ United Methodist Church. She reportedly hit an uncovered manhole and flipped her mother's red convertible.

She died shortly after.

RELATED: Man claims city knew about deadly Ridgewood Road hazard and failed to fix it

Her classmates, who are still set for graduation Friday at 7 pm, are devastated and grieving on what's supposed to be one of the happiest and proudest days of their lives. 

"I admired Frances more than anyone I know," said her best friend Emma Ward. "She was graceful, loving, smart, and so so special. I have never met someone with more love in their heart for life and the people in hers. She pulled people in with her charisma and beauty, but they stayed for her deep passion for others and her excitement for possibility. I love her with everything I have, but our friendship is one for the books." 

"There is so much to say about her and she obviously impacted so many people," said her friend and classmate Olivia Stringer. "Like look at Facebook and Instagram, look at how many people came to JA last night, look at how many people immediately burst into tears when we heard the news yesterday afternoon. She lived a wonderful life and she was so effortlessly beautiful. She had the quickest wit, the most open mind, and loving heart. However, she definitely received the greatest graduation present any of us could ever ask for: being face to face with Jesus."

Jackson Academy says they have a counseling staff, including counselors for upper school, middle school and lower school. JA also has a chaplain who is an ordained minister. In addition, area ministers have been on hand to support students, families, and faculty. Other schools have offered support.

The JA counselors and chaplain organized a gathering Thursday night for students in the JA Learning Commons. Students, family members, parents, faculty, staff, and area ministers attended the event that included prayer, scripture, songs, and remembrances.

A graduation diploma will be presented for Frances Anne at graduation. It will be the first diploma given and will be accepted by a fellow senior and best friend.

JA also says a special gift will be given to the school from the senior class.

"Each year the senior class presents a gift to Jackson Academy as a token of appreciation to the school. The gift this year is being given to enhance the art room at JA. This gift will always be precious to Jackson Academy, to the senior class, and to art students today and in the future because of what we have experienced together. The senior gift is a beautiful way to remember Frances Anne, who was a talented artist, and honors her creative gifts and spirit."

Frances Anne attended St. James' Episcopal Church since third grade. Rector Jamie McElroy sent a letter to parishioners Friday about the tragedy: 

The visitation for Frances Anne will be held at St. James' Episcopal Church in Jackson Friday, May 25 from 5-7 pm and Saturday, May 26 at 2 pm with the funeral at 3 pm. A reception will follow at the church in Fowler Hall.

Copyright 2018 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved

Powered by Frankly