Hundreds of students, friends and family said their final farewell to 23-year-old Alina BigJohny, this past week. She was one of six people killed in the stage collapse during the Sugarland country duo concert on August 13, at the Indiana State Fair. The Sugarland group was to take stage at any moment when a strong gust of wind, ahead of a severe thunderstorm, blew down the stage as thousands gathered for the show.
Visitation services were on Thursday evening, Friday morning the funeral was held at Klaehn, Fahl & Melton Funeral Home, Winchester Road, Fort Wayne and finally on Friday evening, August 19, a plethora of people of all ages gathered at Wayne High School to celebrate the life of a student who attended Waynedale Elementary, Miami Middle School, Salutatorian at Wayne High School and finally earning her English Education degree from Manchester College.
“Lights for Alina” on Friday evening, at Wayne High School, brought the community together for support with a fundraiser for a scholarship to be presented to a student that has aspirations, as Alina did, to become a teacher. That morning over $1,000 were raised according to Oasis Radio 93.3 and K105.5. As the evening grew dark over 1,000 balloons with glow lights were released in celebration of Alina’s life.
With a heart for teaching and hoping to make a difference in the life of children, the passionate fun-loving Alina was scheduled to start her new job as a 7th grade English teacher, at Wilson Middle School in Muncie, Indiana.
Her companion at the fair, Jennifer Haskell, died Friday morning.