Jordan Tate would have given her friends, family and classmates the clothes off her back and the last dime out of her pocket if they needed it. Everyone agreed that much at her vigil Friday night near the scene of the car crash that took her life.
For that reason, one of her best friends, Aki Newman, 18, who lived near her, decided to organize a celebration of her life. He bought candles and balloons for her family and friends and dispersed them among the more than 100 people who showed up to mourn the former William Penn High School junior.
"Jordan personally impacted everybody," Newman said. "She kept that joyfulness."
Newman, who jokingly called Tate his twin, said she would help cheer him up when he was sad. She always listened whenever he was going through tough times. In good times, she would always give him a ride in her car. She liked driving.
Tate died while driving Thursday afternoon in New Castle. New Castle County Police said she was traveling home from school when her car was hit by a school bus near Memorial and Karlyn Drives. The bus was carrying 22 students from Eisenberg Elementary School. Officials said two 10-year-old boys were taken to A.I. duPont Hospital for evaluations as a precaution, but later released to their parents. The rest of the students were shaken up, but not hurt, officials said. The driver was not charged in the accident.
Tate, who was a junior at William Penn High School, was a member of the school's Junior Air Force ROTC program. She was a senior airman. District officials remembered her as an outgoing, and popular with a brilliant smile. Tate was also a member of the school's drill team.
Two of the three teenage girls who were in the car with Jordan remain hospitalized, one serious and the other is recovering. The other was released.
Vynisha Richardson, who attended the candle light vigil Friday, said her 16-year-old step-daughter, Alaina Stokes, was one of the girls in the car with her. She had a picture on her phone of Tate from a week prior after her step-daughter had braided Tate's hair.
"My daughter called me after it happened. She Facetimed me. She was hysterical asking me to come get her, but she didn't know where she was," Richardson said. "Her face was all bloody. I dropped my phone because my hands were shaking."
Richardson said her step-daughter's nose was broken and that her chin was badly bruised. She is still in A.I. hospital recovering, Richardson said.
"This is just terrible."
New Castle County Police blocked off Memorial Drive in both directions near the crash site for the vigil. Attendees, most of them friends or classmates, of Tate's, wore T-Shirts with picture of her on them. They played songs in remembrance of her and shared kind words about her. Tate's parents and two of her siblings attended and were showered with hugs and balloons by the crowd.
"Today we lost another black queen," Newman said. "Until I pass away, Jordan will always be with me."