CALLAHAN, Fla. – Family and friends gathered Saturday to celebrate the life of a 17-year-old girl found shot to death earlier this month inside a Whitehouse home.
The vigil remembering Alayshia Powe was held at Callahan First Baptist Church. Family members and co-workers shared their favorite memories of the rising senior at Ed White High School, whom they described as soft-spoken, sweet and always quick to go above and beyond.
"She was always smiling. (That's) what I can remember the most," said Taqueena Foster, whose niece was Powe's best friend. "She was always smiling and joking and laughing."
Foster said Powe was always polite.
"She was always respectable. Anytime I addressed her, she would say, 'Yes ma’am.' So I didn’t mind her coming over anytime," Foster said. "She seemed to be a pretty good child."
She added that her heart goes out to Powe's parents.
"I couldn’t dare to imagine being in this space that her parents are," Foster said. "I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy, so my condolences are definitely there."
Loved ones who packed the church remembered Powe through photos and stories.
“She was an outstanding worker. She was very respectful," said Megan Jackson, who was Powe's shift manager at the McDonald's on Chaffee Road. "She’d stay late even when we didn’t ask her to."
A pamphlet handed out at the ceremony said she had a passion for fashion and enjoyed getting her hair, nails and makeup done. She also liked to buy shoes -- Jordans, to be exact.
"She was the love of our lives and her family," said Annette Gibson, Powe's cousin. "We’re supporting each other with love, with prayers and the community’s support, her friends from high school, just the community as a whole and the nation. Prayer will get us through this."
Though Saturday was meant to be a celebration of Powe's life, it also had a somber message.
“We will not allow Alayshia’s life to go in vain," Gibson said. "There will be some changes in gun control. There are too many guns that are in the hands of teenagers and babies."
Gibson said she's also praying for the 17-year-old boy arrested and charged with murder in Powe's death, and for his family, especially, to find peace.