Monday morning was a somber one at 1 Black Bear Drive, as students and faculty learned that Pisgah High School junior Molly Henson had taken her own life on Friday, April 23.
The circumstances involving her death are currently under investigation by the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office.
PHS principal Clint Conner and Aleasa Glance, who oversee the Haywood County Schools guidance and counseling program, arranged for additional counselors to be on campus Monday morning to help support students and staff.
”We had several counselors who have came over from various schools to help with the grieving process, and we have our crisis team here,” Conner said on Monday morning. “We held a special gathering by the pole this morning. Pisgah is a family and this is one of the days you can really tell that it is.”
Henson, 16, participated in a variety of team sports over her lifetime, including softball, volleyball, and basketball. Molly’s obituary describes her as having “passion and an intense sense of empathy for all of God’s creatures, and a smile that would melt your heart.”
Heidi Morgan, Pisgah High School’s athletic director, coached Molly in both softball and volleyball and has known her since she was 8 years old participating in Youth Softball Camp.
Morgan described Henson as a “hard worker,” who led the pack during volleyball workouts during the pandemic.
“She always had a smile on her face,” Morgan said. “She was a very coachable kid and a wonderful person also. She told me that I couldn’t hit the ball hard enough at her.”
Morgan also noted that Henson’s favorite person was her older sister, Morgan, who also played sports.
“She looked up to her sister every single day and being involved in athletics was something she that followed in her sisters footsteps in,” Morgan said.
But Molly also excelled academically, and was enrolled in advanced placement courses at Pisgah.
“I can’t say enough about her work ethic on the class and in the field,” Heidi Morgan said. “She loved heavy metal — she kind of went to the beat of her own drum.”
Molly’s teammates and best friends are also reeling from the loss, and talked about her personality on Monday morning during a brief interview.
“I’m really going to miss her attitude,” said Kristin Thompson, who has been Molly’s best friend and teammate since middle school. “She was the smartest person I think I ever knew. Her priority was her friends and family. She was always caring for people and loving on them. She was the type of person you cant ever forget — she left the biggest impact on them.”
Pisgah High School junior Ashton Frady has known Molly since kindergarten and remained close friends throughout high school.
”Her work ethic was just insane,” Frady said. “I think the biggest thing I’m going to miss the most about her is seeing her smile and laugh and just being there.”
Molly was employed at Blimpie in Waynesville. In honor of Molly, Blimpie is donating all tips to Molly’s family or to a charity of choice in Molly’s honor. As of Monday, more than $2,500 had been raised.
The following was posted on the Blimpie Facebook page on Sunday morning:
“You don’t find many people with a personality and heart like Molly. A beaming light to everyone, soft-spoken and kind, caring and sweet, she will truly be missed by all of the employees and customers of Blimpie who got the chance to meet her.”
Shelby Pless, a junior at Pisgah, recalls the days of playing tee ball with Molly, where the two of them were the only females on the team.
”She kept up with the boys,” Pless said with a laugh. “She definitely gave the boys a run for their money, and always has.”
”She was small but she was fierce,” Pless added. “She was someone I could tell her anything with no judgement. I’m going to miss her laugh and her country accent.”
To honor Molly with a funeral service, Conner and Heidi Morgan worked together to hold a service Pisgah Memorial Stadium. The funeral was held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27 with the Revs. Jason Miller and Dr. Roy Kilby officiating.