The Meade High School community is mourning the death of one of its students, who was struck by a vehicle while walking in Annapolis Friday.
Ajia Owens, 18, was a senior at the high school and sought to graduate this year, school officials said.
"Ajia was a sweet, bright, and cheerful young woman who brought smiles to the faces of her teachers, friends, and classmates," Meade High Principal John Yore said in a letter to parents and students.
Owens is survived by a sister, Yasmine Smith, who also attends Meade High, and a brother Ahmad Smith, who attends Van Bokkelen Elementary.
Yore said school counselors and other services have been made available to students this week.
Anne Arundel County police said Owens was struck while attempting to cross the road in the area of Solomons Island Road and West Street. A preliminary investigation indicated she was wearing dark clothing and was not at a crosswalk.
The Maryland Gazette reported that Owens was in Annapolis to meet with relatives to do some Christmas shopping. She had hoped to complete school this year and pursue a career in Homeland Security, the newspaper reported.
She is one of nine pedestrians to be killed in Anne Arundel County this year; another incident in Annapolis claimed the life of a Glen Burnie man on Saturday.
Anne Arundel County police this week announced a new program designed to cut down on pedestrian strikes and other accidents.
Under the "Thirty-Five to Save Lives" campaign, officers will be asked to dedicate 30 minutes per shift to traffic enforcement, with an emphasis on pedestrian safety, impaired and distracting driving, agressive driving and speeding. Officers will also collect data to determine the areas of the county with the highest number of crashes and violations.
Meanwhile, the Severn community continues to mourn the loss of one young resident.
"Death is never an easy thing with which to cope, but when it comes to someone so young, it is even tougher," Yore wrote. "I know that our school and our community will rally together to help each other and the Owens and Smith families in this difficult time."
Funeral services for Owens have not yet been announced.