More than a hundred fill Virginia High library to remember Michael Watkins


People are remembering the Bristol teenager, killed in a car crash over the weekend.

Classmates and school leaders filled the Virginia High School library to share their memories of Michael Watkins. Watkins graduated from Virginia High in 2016.

He died when the SUV he was driving ran off of King College Road, early Sunday morning.

A standout athlete, Michael Watkins was on the football team at Virginia High. He was also a part of the baseball team, crowned back-to-back state champs, just a few years ago.

"He wasn't concerned with his personal accomplishments, he wanted what's best for his team," Virginia High assistant principal and athletic director, Brad Harper, said.

Harper remembers Michael's smile on and off the field.

"I'm certain you would be hard pressed to find anyone who said anything bad about him," he said.

Those sentiments were echoed by Michael's middle school principal Gary Ritchie. Ritchie is now the assistant superintendent within the school system.

"Michael was a leader in school," he said. "He was a stand out in his class. Students were drawn to him."

So his death sent shock waves through the tight knit community.

"When I heard about this on Sunday, I was sick myself," Ritchie said.

School leaders worked quickly to set up the event to remember the teen. More than 100 people filled the school library to share their stories about Michael. Some wrote notes to his family.

"There were tears, there was some laughter, remembering the good times," Harper said.

Counselors were on hand to help students grieve.

"To think they have a life ahead of them - and of course Michael was in college, he had a great future ahead of him," Ritchie said.

The Bristol, Virginia community came together to remember the teen, gone too soon.

"We are a strong Bearcat family, we are a strong community," Harper said. "Bristol is a strong community."

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