By ALVIN REINER
---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — An array of activities memorialized the first anniversary of the passing of Ashley Grady, who died Dec. 21, 2011, at age 16.
Ashley was found unresponsive around 6:30 a.m. in her Lewis home on what was supposed to be the next to last day before the winter vacation.
An autopsy showed that a combination of possible causes, including pre-existing health conditions and an inadvertent overdose of prescription medications, may have contributed to the teen’s death.
Members of what would have been her junior class at Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School and other friends sponsored a recent commemoration, which was held at the Elizabethtown Social Center.
Among the activities were two large banners on which those who wished could express their feelings and remembrances of Ashley and place their handprints.
A memory Christmas tree had been set up, and names and short messages could be inscribed on ceramic light ornaments. In addition, there was a journal where friends could enter a favorite memory of their time with Ashley.
Purple memory bracelets signifying her favorite color were available.
The teens who attended were encouraged to talk to one another and express their feelings in an informal manner, as well as enjoy some of Ashley’s favorites, which included snacks of Bugles, Frito Twists and the music of Justin Bieber.
ELCS Guidance Counselor DeAnna Brown was on hand to assist in the grieving process, as well as provide printed information on coping with the loss of a loved one.
A plaque with Ashley’s photograph, purchased by the ELCS junior class, was on display. It will be installed in the school’s lobby.
Among the sentiments expressed by friends and classmates on the banners, many were in a lighter vein — something Ashley espoused with great enthusiasm — and others recalled her penchant for honesty in dealing with others.
“Hold down the house, girly,” was part of Emily Morris’s tribute.
“I miss your laugh and your jokes and your ridiculous comments,” said Sierra Wimett.
Brittany Tompkins added: “Really miss your laugh and smile. You weren’t afraid to say what was on your mind, no matter the situation.”
Caleb Denton’s contribution stated: “School hasn’t been the same without you. You and your way of talking back. Love you.”
Email Alvin Reiner: firstname.lastname@example.org.