MIDLAND, GA (WTVM) - The family of the Northside High school senior killed in a car accident almost two weeks ago invited the public for a community-wide celebration Wednesday to honor the teen's life.
Many people at the celebration say they're still heartbroken over the life cut short, but Natalie's mother says she wanted today to be a positive, uplifting celebration for her daughter.
Family and friends and high school classmates started the night by singing Happy Birthday with cake and punch. October 29 would have been Natalie Pegram's 18th birthday.
Pegram was killed in a car accident in Tennessee almost two weeks ago.
"Even though we miss her. I know she is really happy right now," said friend Nikki Hill.
Hundreds of family and friends packed Pierce Chapel United Methodist Church in Midland to celebrate the life of the Northside High School student.
"I didn't expect that many people to come, but I shouldn't have doubted that because she touched so many people's lives," said Hill.
The senior was a member of the chorus and president of the Japanese Club.
"She always had a smile on her face. She was always really happy. I would walk in and she would have a smile. It was really awesome," said Mariele Harrison.
During the celebration, friends shared memories, and a video remembrance highlighted special moments in Pegram's life.
"We met last year in Japanese class and every since then we've been really close. She was the one that reach out to me to become friends. But every since then we've been best friends," said Hill.
At the end of the celebration, a candlelight vigil was held outside the church and 18 lighted Japanese lanterns were released into the sky as another way to remember the teen who was full of life an a inspiration to many.
Pegram wanted to major in international business at Georgia State and then move to Japan to teach English.
She was laid to rest last Thursday.