HENRIETTA - August 9, 2012 is a day Jessica Roger's family and friends will never forget, she died following a car accident while driving back to Hardin Simmons University where she was attending college.
Today, she continues to be honored in her hometown of Henrietta, in the 'Jumping for J-Roh' Volleyball Tournament.
"This tournament came about because she started on the b-team in the 7th grade," said Jessica's father, Doug Rogers. "So, Rochelle, Coach K's idea for this tournament was to have something that starting with b-team, because she went from there to all-state twice in high school and on to Hardin Simmons."
"Her parents didn't really know how the scholarship was going to continue to be funded after the initial donations," said Henrietta head volleyball coach Rochelle Kabisch. "So, this was a way for me to honor her and to be able to contribute and make sure that scholarship stayed active."
Kabisch coached Jessica while she played all four years at Henrietta High School.
Still to this day, each and every time the Lady 'Cats play they don a number 17 patch on their uniforms.
"It's just a reminder, to play like Jessica did," Kabisch said. "She gave everything she had. She was a great team player, she was a great leader and she loved the game."
Jessica's family and friends are honored Kabisch and the school continue to honor Jessica on the court, and off through a scholarship.
"You look on the wall and there's just one jersey up there and it's just an honor," said Jessica's step father Benton Easter. "It's just a testament to how may lives that she touched, while she was here."
"This gymnasium was full, I guess 16, 17-hundred people," Rogers said. "There was standing room only. People were here from Abilene, Wichita Falls, I mean every where around. This tournament is just a testament to that. So, it was a life well lived. 21 years of life well lived."
And all these years after those who loved Jessica said goodbye, the tournament continues to keep the memory of number 17 alive and helps to honor her life. One taken far too soon.
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