‘A bright light’: Cobb private school cancels classes after 15-year-old’s death

Blythe Speer (second from right) died Tuesday morning, days after being struck by a pickup truck while crossing a Bartow County road with some of her friends. The Cobb County 15-year-old was the oldest of four children.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Cornerstone Preparatory Academy student hit by truck in Bartow

A private school in Cobb County is grieving the loss of a 15-year-old student who died Tuesday morning, days after being struck by a pickup truck in Bartow County.

Blythe Speer was the oldest of four children, her father Erik told AJC.com. Described as compassionate and adventurous, the 10th grader attended Cornerstone Preparatory Academy, a tight-knit private Christian school with an enrollment of 475.

Head of School Marsha Robbins said Blythe was loved by her friends and teachers alike, and that all classes have been canceled Wednesday as the community grapples with her death.

“I would call her a bright light,” Robbins said. “We are all feeling this loss very deeply. Classes are canceled (Wednesday) so that our families can work through this shared loss together."

The school is providing a team of pastors and counselors who will be on campus Wednesday to assist students and their families, she said.

Blythe was struck just before 6 p.m. Thursday while crossing Old Allatoona Road with some friends outside the Terminus Wake Park in Emerson. She was flown to Atlanta Medical Center in critical condition, then died of her injuries about 2:40 a.m. Tuesday, Bartow County Coroner Joel Guyton said. Police said no charges will be filed against the driver who hit her.

Blythe is survived by her parents, Erik and Zoë, and her three younger siblings, ages 13, 11 and 9.

“She was a wonderful girl and she was always just so sweet. We had a lot of fun together,” Erik Speer said. “I have four children, and she was always my articulate, compassionate adventurer. She was always looking for the next adventure. She loved to travel and always wanted to see new places and do new things.”

He said his oldest daughter also loved working with animals, and volunteered any chance she got.

“She was just really kind to everyone she met. Blythe means joy and I think she lived that out. She brought joy to many, many people,” her father said. “She was always happy and she had a fun time.”

Speer, who lives in Kennesaw’s Legacy Park neighborhood, said he and his wife have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they’ve received from the community over the past several days. He said their friends, Blythe’s classmates and the members of West Ridge Church have rallied behind them in their time of need. Friends have created two fundraising pages for the family, and have provided them with gift certificates for takeout so they don’t have to worry about cooking.

“It’s unbelievable how all of the communities have come together and supported us through this,” he said.

Funeral arrangements haven’t been made yet, but Speer said he’s working with Terminus Wake Park to plan a celebration of life event for his daughter.

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Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter