Emotions fly high for students remembering classmate at Hancock - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Emotions fly high for students remembering classmate at Hancock pep rally

KILN, MS (WLOX) -

The school colors for the Hancock Hawks are red and blue. But this week, senior Shelby Anderson helped temporarily change the primary color to purple.

Purple ribbons are used to raise awareness for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. In fact, September is National Lymphoma Awareness Month. 

"Every senior at Hancock High School gets a wish," Anderson said. "I was trying to think of mine over the summer, and I saw a picture of Glenda on my phone. It just kind of clicked. I wanted a purple out game."

Glenda Rockwell was one of Anderson's good friends. Rockwell passed away in June at the age of 17 right before her senior year at Hancock High School after her brave fight with that form of cancer. 

Anderson's request turned into much more than just a memorable football game that will take place between Hancock and Bay High Fri., September 3. 

The Hancock County School District felt so moved by Anderson's gesture to remember Rockwell that they also helped schedule a "Purple Out" pep rally. 

"It was so important to see our students stand for the fight against cancer to come together," Hancock Superintendent Alan Dedeaux said. "This was student-led. Our students thought about this, came together and are making a difference."

"The people at Hancock are amazing," said Alyssa Lemoine, who is Glenda's sister. "You could be having the worst day at school and people come up to you and say, 'Hey, how are you doing?' Just walking into school this morning, everybody [hugged] me. You're not there by yourself."

The Hancock football team will also wear purple jerseys Friday night. That would not have been allowed without the approval by the Bay-Waveland School District, which was completely on board with the cause.

At Thursday's pep rally, there were minutes of ear-covering yells. There was also a moment of silence with so much weight behind it, you almost lost your balance. But the final cheer was so loud, there was no doubt that it made its way to heaven.

"She was always smiling," Hancock senior Samuel Palode said. "She never looked down, was always smiling and always encouraging."

Anderson was given a few minutes near the end of the pep rally to thank her fellow students, who brought numerous signs and purple apparel in support of their friend gone way too soon.

"This was my goodbye because I didn't get to say goodbye to Glenda," Anderson said. "She passed away before I could. This is a huge relief. I feel like I have said my goodbyes and I'm at peace with everything. I feel like a lot of other students are like that, too."

"I was watching an interview [of Glenda] the other night," said Mandy Rockwell, who is Glenda's mother. "I think the first thing she said was, 'I was 16. Of course I was upset. But I'm so glad it was me and not another little child.'

"That right there showed me the type of child she had grown into during her 17 years. I hope we can all strive to be somewhere close to where she made it in her short life."

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