High school friends remember hometown TV reporter killed on the job

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- About 100 people who shared a class, sport or a laugh with Alison Parker gathered on the Martinsville High School football field Thursday to remember a woman that made the community proud.

Parker, 24, was a 2009 graduate of the school and working for WDBJ in Roanoke when she and her photographer Adam Ward were shot and killed while broadcasting live Wednesday morning.

“It is a fact that an unprecedented tragedy has brought us together this evening. It was and is and will forever remain a tragedy,” said Terry Knight, a pastor who helped lead the ceremony.

Friends and those who watched Parker grow up gathered at the center of the high school football field and lit candles to honor Parker.

Knight asked mourners to focus on the young girl’s life and not the tragedy.

“Think about her light, her brightness,” said Knight.

Parker is remembered by classmates as a young woman with immense positivity.

“She was always a bubbly person; Smiling, laughing -- she was the one who wasn't afraid to be goofy,” said Chelsea Robinette.

Robinette said she reached out to another classmate, Kara Winikur, as soon as she heard about what happened to Parker.

“We took solace in each other,” said Winikur. “We were just so shocked.”

Winikur and Robinette remember Parker as someone who got along with everybody in the school and stayed very active being a member in two different types of school bands, on the swim team, a soccer player and someone who excelled in her school work.

“We just wanted to celebrate the life of someone who was just genuinely a great person and that's something you don't ever want to forget,” said Robinette.

Parker’s teacher, Carolyn McCraw, said she’ll remember the young woman as someone who was always motivated to be the best.

“Alison is someone who stole my heart the moment I met her,” said McCraw.

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