SHAWNEE — A plaque sits in the trophy case inside the Bethel High School gym honoring Kyle Lewis' state golf championship in 2008. On the back wall of the gym, a banner hangs to recognize the accomplishment as well.
Soon, a cut-out photo of Lewis will stand with those of Bethel's other All-State athletes.
Lewis died Monday evening when his car drifted off the Turner Turnpike and struck a bridge embankment near Stroud as he drove home from playing in the All-State golf tournament in Broken Arrow. He'll never be forgotten in the Bethel gym, so it seems fitting that he be remembered there.
It began with a prayer vigil Wednesday night, and will continue with Friday's funeral at 10 a.m.
The only question is whether the gym can hold everyone who will show up Friday morning to remember him.
Bethel Acres is a tightly woven community that sits on the edge of Shawnee, though far enough away to maintain its autonomy. The high school is the backbone of the community, so when the school is shaken by tragedy, everyone feels it.
And that's the only way anyone in Bethel Acres would want it — if you have to hurt, hurt together. And heal together.
"The only way to move forward is together," said Gabby Babb, who graduated with Lewis in May. "Kyle was the greatest friend. He was always there when you needed him, always offering to help if he could.
"(The vigil) was a really personal way for us to remember the good things about Kyle, rather than thinking about the bad things, and death."
The vigil was full of song, prayer and stories of Lewis' life, along with some private time for everyone to remember him.
The relaxed setting of the vigil gave students and others in the community the opportunity to openly grieve and celebrate Lewis' life in a way that might not feel comfortable amid the formalness of a funeral.
"It helped me to know that everyone was here supporting each other — that we're all here for Kyle," said Jason Swafford, Lewis' cousin and close friend. "It helps to know there are so many people going through what you're going through.
"I looked up to Kyle so much. Everyone loved to hang out with him as much as they could."
Lewis was one of four Bethel athletes selected to All-State teams along with softball players Taylor Beach and Brittany Watson, and Lewis' basketball teammate, Cale Jackson.
The softball All-State games were played in June, but Jackson considered skipping the basketball All-State game tonight at Oral Roberts' Mabee Center. Instead, he decided to honor his friend before the game by wearing Bethel's yellow warm-up shirt with Lewis' name and No. 3 on the back.
And Jackson's father, Greg, hopes that every Bethel student carries a piece of Lewis with them from now on.
"When I describe someone, I want you young people to be like, don't look at people you see on TV," Greg Jackson said while addressing the crowd at the vigil. "If you want an idol, if you want someone to be like, be like Kyle Lewis. He was one of the best."