It's tradition in Byron, Minn. for the high school seniors to paint the rock, and while Byron High School's colors indicate the rock should be red, it's been purple all year long.
Traditions remind us of who we are, and remind us of milestone moments. This particular purple rock holds a powerful story that a family and a community think everyone should hear.
At the end of the school day, a call came over police radio indicating a crash between a school bus and a minivan near County Road 5 in Byron, Minn.
There were no injuries reported in the school bus, but minivan was wedged underneath. The minivan's driver was unconscious when helped arrived, and for an hour, an army of first responders worked desperately to remove high school senior Deej Logan from the mangled mess of steel. She was pinned from the waist down, the dash right on her lap, police said.
"What's your name, can you tell us your name? Can you talk to me?" first responders asked, not knowing if she could hear them.
They tenderly offer her words of comfort until a helicopter arrived to take her to the Mayo Clinic.
An eyewitness said the bus had stopped to drop off a student, but the minivan just kept coming at full highway speed.
"I didn't hear her hit the brakes at all. It just sounded like a big explosion," the eyewitness said.
Meanwhile, a father and son were trying to get to a football game amid gummed-up traffic.
"I saw the helicopter sitting there and the bus. I couldn't see the vehicle from where I was, but you get that sick sense, in the pit of your stomach," Deej Logan's father Matt Logan said.
That's the feeling that comes from knowing your daughter drives that same stretch of road at that same time of day.
"I had talked to her just 15 minutes before," he said.
His daughter Deej was on her way home after her first day of her senior year at Byron High. She's the kid who always wore purple and a smile. She had lots of friends, good grades and a perfect driving record.
Like many of us, a cell phone was Deej Logan's constant companion. First responders found it on the floor of her minivan. When investigators unlocked the phone, they found a lengthy unsent text message and figured she was responding to a friend while driving 63 miles per hour. She never saw the bus.
She passed away at the hospital five hours after typing that message.
"Desperately trying to take a horrible tragic situation in our family and turn it into something that can be positive for others," Matt Logan said.
The Logans don't want anyone to endure a similar tragedy. They tell their story in schools, but the message is truly for all ages: No text, no email, no anything on a cell phone is worth dying for while driving.
In honor of their daughter, the Logans raised money to help two of her classmates go to college. The winners wrote essays based on a quote from Deej:
"Life isn't always what you expect. Things happen you never thought would. I tend to do things the hard way, but I try not to regret my mistakes but learn from them instead."
Now, the Byron High School class of 2013 wants all of us to learn from the lesson of the purple rock.