A large crowd gathered in the Henrietta High School gym Saturday to retire the No. 17 jersey of Jessica Rogers, a well-loved student and outstanding volleyball player.
During a heartfelt memorial following Saturday’s matches against Jacksboro, the jersey, which has been framed along with a photo of Rogers provided by Hardin-Simmons University and a record of her accomplishments, was displayed near center court.
Following a eulogy by Head Coach Rochelle Kabisch, the family of Jessica Rogers gathered around the jersey before, then retired it to a trophy case located in the foyer of the gym. A slideshow of photos and videos of Jessica in action and at play was presented.
“I received many gifts from Jessica throughout the years. Her gift of love and friendship was the most precious, but the final gift she presented to me has been the one I have been most thankful for in my life,” said Kabisch. “Upon being reminded of Jessica’s devotion to the Lord, she had brought the Lord to the center of my life once again. Jessica will forever be a role model to my children and to me that we may love the Lord and life as much as she did.”
Called J-Roh by her teammates, Rogers was known for her “bubbling” personality and never-ending smile. She was quick to make a joke and always had a witty reply.
In what Kabisch said was Jessica’s fashion of always making things interesting, Rogers started her volleyball career on the seventh grade “B” team. When her career ended prematurely, she was a defensive specialist for the Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls, a second year student-athlete on a volleyball scholarship.
Rogers moved up to varsity midway through her freshman season, where she continued to play through her senior year.
While at Henrietta High School, Rogers was named District 5-2A Defensive MVP in 2008, and earned the title of District MVP Hitter in 2009. Rogers was an all-state selection both years. She earned numerous academic all-district and all-tournament honors.
She signed her letter of intent to play at Hardin-Simmons in 2010. Rogers earned the HSU Cowgirl Spirit Award in 2010, and the American Southwest Conference Honor Roll in 2011.
Rogers died Aug. 9 in a car wreck on Interstate 20 near Eastland. She was returning to Abilene after visiting friends in Stephenville.
Rogers was studying to earn a bachelor of science degree with a minor in exercise science and was training to one day run in a marathon. She also had ideas of opening her own shop, Hippie Heaven, where she planned to sell her Pinterest crafts and jewelry.