HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Hanover community is remembering the life of Amanda McGruder, a Patrick Henry student killed in a car crash on Labor Day.

Principal Chris Martinez passed along the tragic news to families in a letter Tuesday night. He wrote: “On behalf of the entire Patrick Henry High School community, I want to extend our deepest and most sincere sympathies to Amanda’s family for their devastating and unimaginable loss.”

Hanover Police said McGruder, 17, died after driving off the road and hitting a tree in the 14500 block of West Patrick Henry Road, near Route 54. The crash happened one day before she was set to begin her senior year.

“For those of you who knew Amanda, we ask that you remember and celebrate her wonderful smile, care for others, and unique ability to make things fun. For those of you who did not know Amanda, we ask that you respect our sadness and support us with your understanding and patience as we navigate through this heartache,” Martinez wrote.

On Wednesday, 8News spoke to Patrick Jones, McGruder’s pastor. He had known the teen for ten years and described her as an active part of their church and mentor to the youth.

“She had one of the greatest spirits of our young people,” Jones said. “With her, you got the smile. You got the fact that she was willing and wanting to be in your presence so that made being around her very special.”

Patrick Henry announced that counselors and additional staff would be on site on Wednesday to support students through this tragedy.

Both Martinez and Jones said the teen was a bright light that would be missed.

“It’s going to be an impact felt for some time for the church, community and school because she was truly one of our brightest lights,” Jones said.