Friends and family members gathered at Tiger Stadium in Centralia last week to remember a Centralia High School student who died in a car crash near Grand Mound on May 17.
Cheyllyn Collinsworth, who was 18, was remembered as kind, caring and happy. She was set to graduate high school on June 9 with a 3.66 GPA. She was among the top 25 students in her class, having been honored for that distinction in a Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce scholarship luncheon earlier this month.
Collinsworth planned to attend Central Washington University.
Josh Rodlan, who taught Collinsworth Spanish for three years, reflected on a bright student who was always ready to help her classmates. Last Tuesday, she presented her senior project in his classroom.
“It was incredible to see how much she’d grown, how much she matured, how much the sparkle was in her eye,” he said.
Instead of worrying about “the biggest day of her high school career,” Rodlan said Collinsworth encouraged her peers and ensured they felt comfortable.
“That’s just, for those of us that knew Chey, that’s just who she was,” he said. “She looked out for the people who needed a shoulder, looked out for the people who needed encouragement, and that’s what I’m going to choose to remember about her.”
Julia Weese, who Collinsworth called “Nawna,” described her as a selfless teen who loved camping, motorcycles and her dog.
“She was the light of our life, she was the light of my family’s life,” Weese said. “… Cheyllyn loved people and she loved life and she just blossomed.”
Others spoke about how Collinsworth had become a leader who treated “everyone like they are somebody,” a smiling face who always did her best to cheer others up.
Monica Harris, an English teacher at the high school, said Collinsworth was filled with excitement to start her new journey. The day after her senior presentation, she had a discussion with Collinsworth about CWU, Ellensburg and her future roommates.
“There were very few days when I saw her with a frown and not a smile,” she said.
After sharing their memories, the crowd of about 200 people went to a nearby parking lot to release balloons in honor of Collinsworth.
Collinsworth was killed when a northbound driver crossed the centerline and crashed into her. The crash is being investigated as vehicular homicide.
A Thurston County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said Wednesday the investigation into the crash is ongoing. The name of the driver, who is in his 20s, has not been released.
Collinsworth’s memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Centralia Community Church of God, 3320 Borst Ave., Centralia. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 1104, Centralia WA 98531.