Jenna Kristen Cockrell's basketball jersey bearing the number 33 hangs framed inside the lobby of Augusta Christian Schools' gymnasium.
Jenna's memory, though, doesn't just live on through that displayed jersey. Her parents, Bryan and Sharon Cockrell, cut the ribbon on the school's renovated library Tuesday as it was dedicated and named the Jenna Cockrell Memorial Library.
"I've said so many times, your greatest fear is to remember them (Jenna and her friend Daniel Jones), because it brings back so many emotions," said Bryan Cockrell, the pastor at New Hope Worship Center, at the special chapel service in Jenna's honor Tuesday morning. "And your greatest fear is also that they will be forgotten. So today, thank you for ensuring us that she will not be, for allowing the jersey that still hangs right here where she used to play basketball."
Jenna, the 14-year-old upcoming sophomore who school administrators said had a contagious smile, died in a car wreck with 17-year-old Daniel Jones on Aug. 5, 2001, on their way from New Hope Worship Center to have lunch with friends.
Jenna and Daniel had their photo taken together before leaving church. Less than 20 minutes later, authorities say, Daniel lost control of his convertible on Interstate 20, careening the car into oncoming traffic.
Jenna, just two weeks shy of her 15th birthday, played basketball at Augusta Christian and was an active member of the Alpha Youth Ministry at New Hope.
"My wife and I knew Jenna from the day she was born to the day she went home to be with the Lord," said Dr. Rich Bowen, the senior pastor at New Hope. "And I can tell you one thing absolutely certain, for sure. She would want this to be a happy day."
The renovated library, complete with new shelves, 10 new computer workstations and expanded office areas, opened at the beginning of the school year. All of the elementary school library materials were moved to the school's new elementary school campus on Furys Ferry Road.
"You can't ask for a better celebration, I think, for the school to name this library after Jenna. I didn't know her. It was my loss. I wish I had," Columbia County Commissioner Tommy Mercer said.
"I appreciate what you've done here in this library. And I hope that kids in later years will come in here and ask, 'Who was Jenna?' And somebody will say, 'She lived a godly life.'"
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