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Riverview Students Hold Memorial For Teen Killed While Bull-Riding

Students mourn loss of popular teens, killed Friday night after being kicked by a bull.

About 1,000 students gathered in the memorial garden at Riverview High School before school started Monday morning to remember a teen killed while bull-riding Friday night.

Brooke Ann Coats, 16, died of injuries she sustained when she was thrown from a bull and then kicked in the chest while participating in a bull-riding competition at the Remington Rough Stock's Tampa Bull Riding rodeo on U.S. 301 South near the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.

"It was a spontaneous memorial ceremony so the kids could remember Brooke," said Riverview High School Principal Robert Heilman. "The kids wore pink shirts because that was Brooke's favorite color. And Brooke's grandmother was there."

Grief counselors were on hand to talk with students who were having problems dealing with the death of the popular student. 

"We've got counselors here to provide whatever help any student might need," said Heilman. "It's such a tragedy."

Coats is the 13th students who has died since the school opened 12 years ago, said Heilman. Some died in accidents, like Cody Dykes, 16, who was killed in a car accident in January 2005. Others died of illnesses, such as cancer, said Heilman.

"One is too many," he said.

Heilman described Coats as "a principal's dream."

"She had a 4.8 GPA, was a tennis player, swimmer, involved in drama and chorus -- talk about one terrific and beautiful girl," said Heilman. "She was loving and sweet. She didn't have an enemy that I know of. We'll miss her, especially her spirit."

A visitation is planned for Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Stowers Funeral Home, 401 W. Brandon Blvd., Brandon. The funeral will take place at Stowers Funeral Home Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m. 

RELATED COVERAGE:

VIDEO: Friends Remember Brooke Ann Coats Outside Site of Fatal Bull-Riding Accident

kassy February 22, 2011 at 02:04 AM
I am not a riverview student- just for the record :) But I did make it for Brooke, in her honor! She was a beautiful person! -Kassy

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