As members of Greenbrier High School's marching band practice their formations in the school parking lot, the gap isn't always noticeable.
But students and band director Michael Katterjohn know it is there.
The open spot belongs to Haley Van Pelt, an Evans clarinet player who was seriously injured in a single-car wreck July 22 on her way to band camp.
After running off the side of Hardy McManus Road, the 17-year-old senior over-corrected, slamming her Saturn into a large tree.
The last few days of band camp were hard for her bandmates, who continued practicing for a halftime show she might not be able to perform with them.
"As long as we keep the kids up on her progress, what is happening with her, they are doing OK with that," Katterjohn said.
Senior Nikki Koulianos, 17, said it was strange to attend the first day of school Aug. 10, going about her regular routines, knowing her bandmate was recovering in Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
"It has definitely affected like a lot of our senior class," Nikki said.
Classmates, bandmates and others in her church and the community have started fundraising efforts to help with the extensive costs of Van Pelt's treatment and recovery.
During a recent rehearsal, band members gathered for a photo that was blown up poster-size and sent to Van Pelt's hospital room.
Haley was seriously hurt in the wreck, with injuries to her head, pelvis and legs. She was in critical condition for about two weeks and was in serious condition Monday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Katterjohn said he hopes Haley might be able to perform with the band by October, even if she must play from the sidelines.
"I think she'd just love that," he said.
"We're going to hold her space for her. We're leaving it open. ... We're praying that she comes back."
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