Copperas Cove student to be remembered today
By LYNETTE SOWELL
A memorial service is scheduled for today at 5 p.m., at First Baptist Church in Copperas Cove, to celebrate the life of Sihyeon “Sarah” Ryu Stephans, a senior at Copperas Cove High School, who died Sunday afternoon in a in a two-vehicle accident on Highway 183 just north of Liberty Hill.
The service comes one week before Stephans had planned to walk the platform at the Bell County Expo Center to receive her high school diploma along with the rest of her classmates at CCHS.
Stephans, 18, had also been accepted to the University of Texas at Austin, where she planned to pursue a nursing degree.
Among her endeavors and activities, Stephans was the treasurer of DECA at CCHS, and belonged to the student council along with the National Honor Society.
Stephans’ sister, Jenny, expressed her thanks on Facebook on behalf of the family, “for your condolences and sharing pictures/videos of our little angel just being her usual self, being goofy, dancing and posing silly for Snapchat, appreciating the quality time with her beloved friends, enjoying her Senior year with so many great achievements, etc. It means so much to my family and myself in this difficult time.”
Jenny Stephans also said she wants people to know “how great of a daughter, sister, friend and individual (Sihyeon) was so that the world will know she was an angel on earth.”
Longtime friend Trina Canion called Sarah “such a light in my life” and shared about her friend.
“Sarah has been my best friend since forever now. We’ve always been found eating together, traveling together, and just doing everything together…Sarah was the sweetest person, she never thought about herself without thinking of others,” Canion said about Stephans. “She was such a goofball, too. I mean, she danced like nobody was watching every time.”
She also voiced her thoughts about losing a close friend and classmate.
“It’s hard to really lose someone so close to you, someone who has grown to be your sister but one thing that I know, and one thing that I will always know, is the fact that Sarah would be so mad at me for crying. She would want me to be happy. I would do anything for her too, so I am going to continue to have her back. I will try to be my happiest. Forever and always.”
Kailey Walker, another friend, also called Sarah “a light” to everyone she met.
“Her spunky personality and bright smile radiated to everyone around her. I swear her laugh was contagious. I’ll never forget the time we played middle school basketball together and she made a 3-pointer in the middle of the game causing us to be so excited we started hugging and celebrating in the middle of the game. She couldn’t sing, but that never stopped her. She was always reading Webtunes and fan-girling over some new Korean drama. She always had her hood tied around her face, making everyone laugh- that’s what she was best at. She most definitely loved shopping and spending money.
“Her passion for others has always been inspiring. I am so thankful that I was able to grow up alongside such a selfless, passionate young woman…She may not be here physically, but she will live forever through the hearts she has touched in her short 18 years.” I wish I had the right words so everyone could experience her the way that I had the pleasure to, but there is nothing I can say that would serve me justice in describing how amazing she was.”
Wendy Sledd, communications director for CCISD, confirmed that counselors have been available for students this week at CCHS in the wake of Stephans’ loss.
According to Staff Sgt. Robbie Barrera with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Stephans was headed north on 183 when she drove off the roadway, overcorrected to the left and side-skidded into the southbound lane. Her vehicle collided with a pickup truck driven by 73-year-old William Mason of Volente. Barrera said Stephans was pronounced dead at the scene and Barrera confirmed that although Stephans was ejected from the vehicle, she had been wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Friends of Stephans have set up a GoFundMe account to assist her family with expenses at: https://www.gofundme.com/5l2d8w0?member=216056.