Community honors student with bridge dedication

Amelia Holliday — Staff Reporter

September 30, 2013

It may have happened nearly a year ago, but a community in Perry County is making sure a young life lost in a shooting earlier this year is not forgotten.

On Saturday, the R.W. Combs Elementary School girls’ basketball team held a bridge dedication ceremony at the school’s gym where family, friends, and community members gathered to remember former student 12-year-old Taylor Cornett. Cornett, along with her father and cousin, were killed in January during a domestic related shooting at the Hazard Community and Technical College campus.

Simone Beverly, former team- and classmate to Cornett and founder of the donation fund “Team Taylor,” was master of ceremonies at the dedication. Beverly, along with the rest of the basketball team, have been integral in planning the bridge naming and dedication ceremony.

“(We stayed) for about three hours last night practicing and kept messing up and we were really nervous and everything,” she said after the ceremony had concluded. “It took a lot just to get up there and for everybody to say stuff.”

In May, the basketball team presented a resolution to the Perry County Fiscal Court to have a bridge that sits less than a tenth of a mile from the the school on Hwy 15 named after Cornett.

Cornett’s mother, Missy Cornett, said she was amazed that a group of such young individuals could come together and not only have the bridge dedicated but plan an event such as this on their own.

“I feel truly honored. I feel like Taylor was loved. She loved a lot and people loved her back,” Cornett said.

Beverly said being able to continue celebrating Cornett’s life has meant a lot to them and they plan to continue to remember her during what would have been her seventh and either grade years of school. Since the team lost Cornett, a chair decorated in pink and green ribbon sits as a reminder of the fallen teammate.

“At every home game we put it on the bench, on the first chair,” Beverly said.

Dakota Shepherd, who read the resolution for the bridge naming at the ceremony, said it has been difficult for the team since Cornett’s death, but organizing things like the ceremony and other memorials not only helps keep her memory alive but also helps the team deal with the loss.

“It’s hard whenever we get on the court now, it’s hard because we know that she’s not out there,” Shepherd said.

Cornett said she felt extremely grateful that her community and the school would continue to remember her daughter.

“I just want to thank each and every person that had anything to do with it, and to know that it’s an honor for my daughter to be remembered,” she said.