KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Wednesday is “Emma Walker Day,” dedicated to honoring the late Knoxville teen.
Walker, a Central High School student and cheerleader, was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2016.
March 24 is “Emma Walker Day” for a reason. A memorial scholarship is set up in her honor at Central High. Her mom says the first auction to raise money for it was held on this day four years ago.
“This is just an extra day, a plus. For people to remember her positivity and to remember her reason of being kind and thoughtful, and kind to others, and not remember the sadness, but remember the happy times,” said Jill Walker, Emma’s mom.
That is the mission behind “Emma Walker Day.” There’s a simple favor to honor her memory: for people to do random acts of kindness.
“It’s just little things that people realize, ‘Oh that is so sweet and so nice.’ And it really could make an effect on that one person’s day if they’re having a bad day,” Jill said.
Jill and Emma’s best friends say it’s a tribute to the teenager’s thoughtfulness.
“It wasn’t hard for her, she didn’t have to make a specific moment to be kind, that’s just who she was as a person,” said one of her best friends, Kelsey Varner.
“I’m just trying to focus on the good and trying to be probably the light that maybe someone else needs, the happy face that someone else needs, the extra push that someone else needs,” another best friend, Lauren Hutton said.
They are remembering their spunky and outgoing friend – sharing her heart and her story, and hoping it makes an impact.
“Her life was to show others that that can be an everyday thing, no matter if it’s a conversation or an act of kindness, just whatever you’re doing, you can be kind,” Varner said.
“You never know what people are going through. Just a small gesture of kindness can change their day or their moment. You just never know, and I want people to remember to think about other things than yourself, there’s so much more going on out there,” Jill said.
Jill said she wants people to remember her daughter for who she was, not for what happened to her.
Her ex-boyfriend, Riley Gaul, was charged with her murder. He’s currently serving a life sentence, with the option of parole in 51 years.