ST. JOSEPH — Nadirah Edwards was a fearless artist, a scholar and a kindhearted friend.
And the St. Joseph-Ogden community is mourning her loss.
Miss Edwards, a senior at St. Joseph-Ogden High School, died Thursday due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident the day before at a rural intersection north of the village.
Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Nadirah C. Edwards, 17, of St. Joseph was pronounced dead at 1:51 p.m. Thursday at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where she was taken after the wreck.
She was driving west on County Road 1850 North and stopped at the stop sign when she reached the intersection with 2200 East, then proceeded through. A dump truck headed south on County Road 2200 East tried to stop to avoid hitting her car but couldn’t.
“Nadirah was an incredibly bright young lady in many ways,” SJ-O Principal Gary Page said. “She was bright in the sense that she was highly intelligent and she was the caliber of student that teachers long to have in class and students hope they get pair with in group and partner activities. She was insightful, diligent, original and thorough in her work.”
“Most of all, she enjoyed learning, and it showed,” he said.
Page said Miss Edwards could be shy in social situations, but school was a place she enjoyed shining.
“She was quick to smile,” he said. “She was selfless and one of the most kindhearted individuals in school.”
During her time at SJ-O, she was a member of the National Honor Society, an honor-roll student, a member of the Art Club and participated in drama productions and band and the Rube Goldberg team.
In 2018, she became the youngest Art Club student to have her T-shirt design selected to represent the club. In 2020, she placed second in the Eric Show, competing against 190 other high school artists.
She was named Fine Arts Student of the Month in 2018. At the time, art teacher Jake Beccue said Miss Edwards was willing to tackle any medium.
“She has a great approach to all her projects,” he said.
Said Superintendent Brian Brooks: “She comes from a great family and had an older brother and sister who graduated from SJ-O. It is awful when anyone loses their life, but it is incredibly tragic when that person is a 17-year-old senior in high school.
“It became evident very quickly at school the positive impact she had on both students and teachers during her time at SJ-O, by both the comments made regarding Nadirah and the grief that filled the air all day,” he added. “Our deepest sympathies are with the entire Edwards family.”
Page said he hoped the community would remember Miss Edwards for her talent and kindness.
“She was one of the brightest, most talented and kindhearted Spartans in the school,” Page said. “She was an amazing human being that didn’t have an enemy and could light up anyone’s day with her kind smile.”