Exactly three years after the car crash that claimed her life, a teenage girl from the Mad River Valley is remembered on the soccer field.
On October 8th, 2016, Mary Harris of Moretown was one of five teens who died on I-89 South in Williston. Wrong-way driver Steven Bourgoin crashed his truck into their car while they were returning home from a concert in South Burlington.
At Mary’s former high school, the emphasis is on how she lived and on one of the activities she loved.
She was a varsity soccer player at Harwood Union High School. A current Highlanders player — who was a freshman when Mary died — grew up knowing her and her family.
“She was always a very loving and caring person, no matter who you were,” Harwood Union senior Amaya Rogers said. “Her kindness just radiated off her. I think that’s the best part about her that everyone should remember.”
That spirit brought about 200 young soccer players together at the high school Tuesday, some of them as young as pre-kindergarten.
Mary Harris Youth Soccer Day is an occasion for local kids to have fun with the Highlanders while learning a thing or two about the sport.
“Mary loved Youth Soccer Day,” her mother, Elizabeth Harris, said. “She loved kids; she loved to play soccer, so it seemed only fitting that we brought all these kids from Mad River Valley Youth Soccer to honor her.”
“This day, specifically, is exactly like what Mary was,” Rogers said. “She loved to spread kindness and loved to be part of the community and help kids, so I think this day kind of embraces her as a whole, and I love to see all the kids coming out and playing for Mary.”
The ‘Love Like Mary’ T-shirts the players were wearing don’t only raise money for Mad River Valley Youth Soccer scholarships.
Elizabeth Harris says when she sees anyone in the community wearing one, it lifts her spirits…because it encourages everyone to be kind to one another like her daughter was.
“She was a good girl, you know? She was kind, she was helpful, she was graceful. She’s missed, but she’s honored, clearly,” Elizabeth Harris said.
Bourgoin was convicted in May of five counts of second-degree murder. He’s serving 30 years to life in prison.