STATESVILLE, N.C. -- The tragedy hit home for the Iredell-Statesville Schools, where the the church had established a very close relationship with a number of schools in the area.
According to the district, a number of people on the bus were former school employees.
Many church members volunteered at N.B. Mills Elementary School. It is a school the church had adopted to provide for the needs of the students.
"It was just a big shock, " said Dawn Creason, the district's public information officer.
Creason says Superintendant Brady Johnson has been in constant contact with the church and immediately after attending Wednesday night's service, had made plans to have grief counselors available at the schools affected.
"They are active in the community and unbelievably supportive of our schools. That church is full of employees, former employees, the other connection is that Front Street Baptist Church, is a partner with our school system," said Creason.
She said members of the congregation had direct interaction with students. They volunteered, tutored students, and raised money for the school.
"Its' terrible.. terrible, they are with the Lord now," said Andy Griffin. "I know they try to help people and everything and I am thankful for that and its a really good church," he said.
Natalie Mott's niece attends the elementary school. She says she will be with all those in the community offering a prayer.
"Just pray for their families and everything, just to give them strength to help them," she said.
The district has offered the church one of its high school to use for a memorial. Nothing has been planned so far.