Jessica Adams couldn't wait to be a teen-ager. Her mother can still hear her running around the house telling everybody, "I'm going to be 13! I'm going to be 13!"
Two weeks after her birthday, she died.
She turned 13 on Sept. 15. She had a big party. On Sept. 30, she was killed in an ATV accident on Camp Mountaineer Road near her Morgantown home.
"She brought her yearbook pictures home that day and we talked about them," said her mother, Cindy Adams. "She left the house at 6 p.m. By 7, she was dead."
Townspeople grieved for her. "When we left the funeral home, there must have been over 50 cars in the procession," her mother said. "I've never seen anything like it."
She was a seventh-grader at South Middle School. Students decorated her locker with her favorite things: a Butterfinger candy bar, Winterfresh gum, stuffed animals, jewelry, flowers, notes and ribbons. They made a banner: "Goodbye, Jess, We'll Miss You." Every student signed it.
They used notebook paper to make cards with personal messages: "Jessica Will Make a Beautiful Angel" and "Jessica Is in Good Hands Now. God Will Take Care of Her."
The art teacher drew her portrait. Jessica loved the teen dances at the armory. Friends dedicated songs to her. At the accident site, they created a memorial — a cross surrounded by flags, stuffed animals, pictures, notes and flowers.
The school raised $800 in a fund drive. The family put the money toward her headstone.
The night of her death, family members saw one of the WVU football players and told him what happened. The Mountaineers said a prayer in Jessica's memory and dedicated the next home game to her. They put a banner on the WVU bus that read, "In Memory of Jessica."
Her picture appeared on the front page of The Dominion Post. The paper ran articles calling for ATV regulations. Her death prompted WVU to prepare a video on ATV safety featuring Jessica and conversations with her friends. It will be distributed to students in Monongalia County schools.
"Everybody loved her," her mother said. "She was so full of life."
She was an honor student and a cheerleader. She took baton lessons and dance lessons.
"She always did everything she was supposed to do. She would come home and do her homework every day before she went out to play. She was up every morning at 6 a.m., getting ready to go to school. She was a perfectionist, about her hair, about everything. She brushed her teeth four times a day. She got me to quit smoking."