“She was everything:” Jackson County community remembers Lyla Batista

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 6:07 PM CST
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MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG) - It’s fifth period at Marianna High School and students are shuffling into class. Noticeably absent from her seat is sophomore Lyla Batista.

“It’s just an overall kind of silence, mourning, sad. Just kind of questioning life and why people get taken so young," Lyla’s Teacher Jenna Hatcher said.

Sunday morning, Lyla passed away in an ATV accident. Monday, classmates, friends, and even teachers are struggling to accept it.

“Take every moment to heart. You just never know when it’ll be your last,” Hatcher said.

Hatcher asked her students to write letters to the family, whether they personally knew Lyla or not. Those who didn’t personally know Lyla said she stuck her neck out for others, even when they forgot classwork; like she did for Ja’Ziya Smith.

”She had given me her binder because I didn’t have nothing... she knew my name and stuff, I didn’t know she knew my name," Smith said.

Those who did know Lyla simply say she was everything to them.

“She was always there for us. She always had our backs," one of Lyla’s friends, Kaitlyn Godwin, said.

When Godwin and Kendall Johnson learned of Lyla’s passing, they said it felt like a part of themselves was also taken. All of the laughs, travel plans, and dancing, gone in an instant.

Although her seat may now be empty, the thought of her smile still lights up the room.

“I hate that Lyla is not going to be around to show how amazing she was going to be, but she’s in heaven and God has her now, and that’s what he wanted," Hatcher said.

“No one can ever replace Lyla. And there will never be someone like Lyla," Godwin said.

A GoFundMe was created to help the Batista family.

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