De Soto Shortly before dark Tuesday evening, students, teachers and community members began filling the rear parking lot of De Soto High School. They carried and lit candles of all shapes and sizes and began to share stories about one of their own.
The stories all painted a picture of the same hard-working, athletic boy who always had a smile on his face. Bryan Allen Jessip, 18, died in a motorcycle accident Monday afternoon.
More than 300 people attended the vigil organized by his classmates, and most scrawled messages on the yard signs Jessip used to promote his lawn care business. In addition to playing soccer and running cross country, Jessip was an entrepreneur and mechanic, and he was active in the youth group at Westside Church of the Nazarene in Olathe. He recently completed his junior year at De Soto High.
Laughter mixed with tears as friends shared camping tales and teachers told of Jessip’s occasional classroom antics.
“It seemed as though Bryan always had a smile on his face, whether he was in trouble or not. I don’t think he could help it, he was that kind of student,” said one teacher sharing his memories of Jessip.
A memorial fund has been set up in Jessip’s honor at the First Community Bank in De Soto to help the family with funeral and burial costs. Donations may be made at the bank, 33485 Lexington Ave., or mailed to P.O. Box 329, De Soto, KS 66018.