Students at Putnam City North High School are sharing their condolences with the family of Nicholas "Nick" Owens this week after the 15-year-old sophomore died Sunday in a car crash.
School staff set up a memorial table for Owens with a box for students to leave prayers or thoughts for the family. It's a gesture Owens' mother, Michelle Owens, said means the world to her.
"As his mom, you think I've got a great kid, but until I heard the stories from the kids in school, I didn't realize the impact that he had outside the family, and I'm just so proud of him," she said Wednesday. "He was amazing, always positive and smiling and helpful, just the best kid a mom could want. A very hard worker."
About 350 students and staff members from Putnam City North held a candlelight vigil for Nick and the Owens family Monday night at the school.
Michelle Owens said she was moved by the support for Nick, his brother, Matthew, and sister Jacy, all students at the school.
"They've been just wonderful in showing their support for the family 150,000 percent," she said. "He will be missed greatly."
Matthew Owens, 18, was listed by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol as the driver of the car that crashed about 7:50 p.m. Sunday on Interstate 40 near Choctaw Road in east Oklahoma City. He was hospitalized and underwent surgery on his arm, Michelle Owens said. He's recovering and expected to be released from the hospital today.
The teens' father, Stephen Owens, died in May of brain cancer. He was a Midwest City police lieutenant before retiring from the force in March.
Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said, "I don't know how much more tragedy a family can take. But I know they're strong. They'll be courageous and strong for everyone around them. We'll certainly be keeping them in our prayers."
Most of the teens' friends have turned to Facebook to share their grief. Jacy Owens' Facebook wall is filled with messages of love, condolence and sorrow.
Putnam City School District Spokesman Steve Lindley said extra counselors were called to the school this week and have talked with a number of grieving students. They'll be available through Monday.
Members of the family's church are saddened as well.
Linda Stewart, minister of education administration at Soldier Creek Baptist Church in Midwest City, said, "Nick had a vivacious smile, it was contagious. He will be missed by our youth group and our youth workers.
"We love those kids. They're just a super family."
Funeral services for Nick Owens will be at 3 p.m. Friday at Crossings Community Church in northwest Oklahoma City.