Band scholarship honors Mason teen killed in 50-car pileup

A massive pileup on the Ohio Turnpike resulted in the deaths of four people, including a 19-year-old girl from Mason.
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 5:55 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 27, 2022 at 10:02 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The parents of a young woman killed in a 50-car pileup in Ohio said they want her legacy to help others.

Emma Smith graduated from Mason High School. The 19-year-old died just days before Christmas.

Smith volunteered at an abuse survivor center and animal shelters. Her interests included nature, vintage items and playing the saxophone.

“I kind of really feel like the band was instrumental, pun intended, of forming who she was,” said her mother, Rebecca Ayers. “It was just significant to her.”

Her parents said she wasn’t the type of person who would have liked all this attention, but she was one who wanted to help others. That’s why her family is starting a band scholarship in her honor.

Rebecca Ayers said when Smith joined the band, things started to click. Her grades significantly improved and she found her community.

“Just fabulous people, the band teacher I know really cared about her,” Ayers said. “And she loved Mrs. B.”

Smith was the saxophone’s first chair in the band, participated in both the jazz and marching band, was part of the National Honor Society and volunteered for numerous nonprofit organizations.

The Mason High School band goes to a week-long camp every year. It’s mandatory, but there’s still a cost associated with attending. Her family is using all proceeds from their GoFundMe to help bring Emma’s passion for music to Mason.

You can donate to the scholarship here.

While the Gofundme page said it’s raising money for funeral expenses, Ayers confirmed all of the proceeds will go to costs for the Mason High School Marching Band’s camp. They hope to fund attendance for less fortunate members of the band, as the camp is associated with a cost and mandatory for all Mason band members. The Gofundme page is organized by Emma’s aunt.

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