Candlelight Vigil Held For Vancleave Family Killed In Crash

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Candles shone brightly as hundreds of loved ones sang songs, shed tears and reflected on the Van Alstine family during a moving tribute Friday night.

"It is only appropriate that we take time to give thanks for Shyla and her Family and what they meant to the school and the whole community," Vancleave Resident John Jennings said.

Shyla, a successful school teacher, Phillip, a model soldier and their little girl, Haylie, were killed in a crash on I-12 near Baton Rouge.

Vigil Coordinator Millie Arender is devastated by the tremendous loss.

"I think the community and everybody is still in shock," she said.

Arender said the community is praying for the full recovery of the Van Alstines' 4-year old daughter Kaytie who is the only survivor of the wreck. The couple also leaves behind their 11-month-old daughter, Avery, who was not in the car at the time of the accident.

"Everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for everyone, and it is just hard to accept it," Vancleave High School Student Kayla Jo Holbert said.

Every time Kayla Jo Holbert thinks about the tragedy she gets emotional.

"You would never think it would happen to her (Shyla Van Alstine) because I wanted my kids to have her as an English Teacher."

To continue Shyla VanAlstine's legacy, Vancleave High School Students have established a scholarship fund in her name. And they are selling bracelets in hope of sending an outstanding student to college.

Now as the community pulls together to get through this tragedy they say Philip, Shyla and Haylie will always be remember as shining light in the Vancleave community.

If you would like to donate to the Shyla VanAlstine's Scholarship fund please call Christy Warren at Vancleave High School at 228-826-4701.