BAUXITE, Ark.— The community is remembering a Bauxite High School sophomore who died earlier this year.
Police say Kayla Bubbus, 16, was a passenger in a car that went off the road on January 3, 2021. She died at the hospital.
Her family describes her as strong, loving, and an incredible volleyball player.
“I still really think I’m in shock, I don’t really think that it’s real,” said Lisa Bubbus, Kayla’s mother.
Bubbus says the last few weeks have been some of the hardest of her life. She says she was waiting for her daughter to get home on January 3rd, but she never made it.
“I love her, I’m proud of her, and we miss her,” said Lisa Bubbus.
Bubbus says her daughter Kayla was one of her greatest accomplishments. She was a star athlete at Bauxite High School who shined even brighter off the court.
“She was always pushing her peers to be better– whether it was school– just being honest– or on the court,” recalled Bubbus.
Her volleyball coach, Dave Carter, says Kayla helped lead the team to state last year and she has left a space on the court that can never be filled.
“We have decided as a program to retire her jersey,” said Bauxite High School Women’s Volleyball Coach, Dave Carter.
He says the jersey will be displayed for all to see at Bauxite High, a small reminder of the 5’2 girl who wore the number four on her jersey.
“We have a cheer– after every huddle we say who do we play for? And it’s Lady Miners. Well, her number was 4 so the girls have said who do we play for? Number 4. That will be our cheer for this season,” said Carter.
While the court will feel quieter without Kayla Bubbus, those who knew her best say her legacy will continue to speak volumes.
“I always told her that I was proud and she made an impact on everybody– but I wanted her to see that. And I hope she does,” said Lisa Bubbus.
There is a trend circulating social media with posts of Kayla accompanied with ‘#LiveLikeKayla.’
The family says the hashtag means sticking to your values, sticking to your core, and to act as if somebody is always watching, even when you’re not on the court.