Harrisburg High School Principal Remembers A Late Student For Her Heart And Art

Alysen Voss, 16, died in a car accident Sunday morning

A community is grieving after a tragic accident took the life of a 16-year-old Harrisburg High School student. 

Alysen Voss died in a two-vehicle crash Sunday morning.

Her Chevy Cavalier was heading northbound on South Dakota Highway 11 when she lost control.

The vehicle went into the southbound lane where it collided head on-with another vehicle.

The Harrisburg High School principal says the shock of the accident is wearing off, and the reality is settling in.

Dr. Kevin Lein says the mood was somber as students poured into his office talking about how they miss Alysen’s smile already.

A smile that is said to be contagious, and holds truth to it as Dr. Lein remembers their last conversation together. 

“She wanted to give me a nose ring,” laughs Dr. Lein. “She told me she thought I would look really good, I said ‘well Alysen, maybe not now, but when I retire in 30 to 40 years maybe you can come back and give me one of those’.” 

Laughing at old memories is how most remember Alysen. 

“She was just a great spirit,” says Dr. Lein. 

Today, where the crash took place on Sunday morning near Highway 11 and Road 273, debris and flowers are all that’s left behind.

But Dr. Lein says it’s her art work that will live on. 

“Art was her passion,” says Dr. Lein. “She wanted to be a tattoo artist.” 

Counselors and extra staff have been available at the school.

A scene that is all too familiar.

Just last September students dealt with the aftermath of a student shooting Dr. Lein in the arm. 

“It’s not so much about the event, but what you do about that event and how that makes you stronger,” says Dr. Lein. “So both of these things only help us celebrate things to a higher level.” 

This is exactly what the principal wants the community to do: celebrate Alysen for who she was. 

“Her smile and her warmth that was infectious, the way she treated everybody was with such dignity and respect, and that’s what she got in return and always deserved that,” says Dr. Lein.

A service will be held at Harrisburg High School on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Visitation will be at the Anderson Corcoran Funeral Home on Friday from 1 to 9 p.m.