Tessa Pettigrew Obituary, Death – Head Teacher Lake Highlands High School, Monday would have been the perfect day for Cung Lian to spend celebrating one of the most important victories in the annals of the Lake Highlands boys soccer program. Instead, he spent some of his day talking with people who specialized in bereavement counseling. Tessa Pettigrew, the beloved assistant principle of the school, passed away unexpectedly on Friday due to what the school described as a medical incident. Lian and his teammates are grappling with the loss of Tessa as they move forward with their lives.
Players were informed of the news just an hour and a half before their playoff game against Flower Mound Marcus, but they were able to maintain their composure and win the game 1-0 to progress to the regional quarterfinals for the first time since 2014. “I was at a loss for words. “That came out of nowhere,” remarked Lian, a senior who plays center defense. “That tore a hole in my soul. She was to me like a mother would be to a child. We were pretty tight.”
Lian has worked closely with Pettigrew in the past to prepare a variety of events while serving in the role of vice president for the senior class at Lake Highlands. Pettigrew was the principal of the senior class and was responsible for coordinating activities such as the senior prom, the senior field trip, and graduation.
“Just thinking about her made me feel very sad when I prayed for the team before the game,” Lian said. “As I prayed for the team, it became quite emotional.” “During the first ten minutes of play, I was completely unable to concentrate on the game. When I was playing, thoughts of her kept crossing my mind.
“After the game, we were all overcome with emotion since we had just won such a significant game, but one of the principals came over to me, and we started hugging each other, and I started sobbing because we had done this for her.” On Monday, Lian and the other class officers got together with grief counselors, and at the meeting, “we just sort of let it all out and just talked about her.” Lake Highlands (13-8-4), the No. 2 seed from District 7-6A, has committed the rest of its season to Pettigrew as it gets ready to play El Paso Eastlake in a Class 6A Region I quarterfinal on Friday at 4 p.m. at McKinney ISD Stadium.
Pettigrew is the recipient of Lake Highlands’s dedication. After defeating Hebron, which was ranked No. 2 in the Dallas area, in the second round of the playoffs, Lake Highlands is currently in the midst of an unexpectedly deep playoff run. The team needs two more victories to advance to the state tournament for the first time since it was eliminated from the tournament in the state championship game in 2003.