Beaufort News

Beaufort Co. teen who died Friday was tireless volunteer, softball standout

Anna Grace Dennis, a Lady’s Island resident and Beaufort Academy student, died on Friday after an epileptic seizure. She played softball and volleyball and was an avid volunteer for the school.
Anna Grace Dennis, a Lady’s Island resident and Beaufort Academy student, died on Friday after an epileptic seizure. She played softball and volleyball and was an avid volunteer for the school. Submitted

Anna Grace Dennis is the reason many students chose Beaufort Academy and the reason the school revived its softball program.

The Lady’s Island resident — known to friends as “AG” — was an avid ambassador for the private school in northern Beaufort County where she was preparing for her junior year, those who knew her said Monday.

Anna Grace, 16, died on Friday after an epileptic seizure, according to her school and coaches. She was remembered for her vibrant personality, love for friends and her softball teammates, and for her work on behalf of her school.

“A lot of people are thankful for her,” said Lisa Gallagher, Beaufort Academy’s communications director and head of its Interact Club.

As a student ambassador, Anna Grace led tours of the school, answered questions about its programs and helped recruit new families. She encouraged a lot of her friends to join her at BA, Gallagher said. On Thursday, Anna Grace had participated in an informational event and answered questions about life and programs at Beaufort Academy.

Anna Grace played softball and volleyball at Beaufort Academy and volunteered for numerous school-sponsored projects. She also competed for the S.C. Badkatz travel softball team and participated in its fifth-place finish at a national tournament in Alabama last month.

After moving to Beaufort County from the Summerville area several years ago, she lobbied for softball to return to Beaufort Academy, and as a sophomore this past season, she was part of its first team in more than a decade. Because of her experience playing travel ball, she helped coach newer players on the high school team, Beaufort Academy coach Eric Ackerman said.

“She is the reason it got off the ground,” he said. “Softball was her love.”

Anna Grace was one of the youngest players when she first joined her travel team and had to work to earn a contributing role, travel coach and family friend Jessica Young said.

At the national championship in Alabama, Anna Grace had delivered one of her better performances and batted about .400, coach Bob Layman said. Team members plan to wear stickers on their helmets, with a purple ribbon for epilepsy awareness and Anna Grace’s name and jersey No. 7.

Beaufort Academy sports teams will wear black patches with Anna Grace’s initials in purple, Young said.

Epilepsy was part of her life and the reason Anna Grace couldn’t get her driver’s license. But it didn’t keep her from being the school’s “No. 1 volunteer,” as described by Gallagher — or a pitcher, outfielder, second baseman and volleyball player.

“The kid did more in 16 years than a lot of adults do in 80,” Young said. “She was a go-getter.”

Beaufort Academy teacher Tom Miller recalled Monday asking Anna Grace her plans after high school. He said she told him she wanted to go to medical school, study neurology and help children dealing with epilepsy.

“She just had vibrancy that you don’t find in young people,” Miller said. “And it was a mixture of adult, but not precocious — it was serious business with sense of humor.”

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