Waylon Sauer, a junior at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, was killed in a car accident Tuesday evening, prompting an outpouring of grief and support by members of the community.

Waylon was 17 years old and a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah. As family, friends and community members gathered, a ceremonial fire was lit along with traditional singing and drumming by members of the tribe.

His parents are Dan Sauer and Wenonah Madison, who own and operate 7a foods in West Tisbury. Throughout the days following the crash, flowers were laid at the door of 7a.

The crash occurred on State Road in the area of Lambert’s Cove Road, the West Tisbury police confirmed in a press release Wednesday morning. “The operator, a 17 year old, was killed when he drove off the roadway and collided with a tree, speed was a factor in the crash,” the press release said. “At approximately 10:38 p.m. the West Tisbury Police Department, Fire Department, and Tri-Town EMS were dispatched.”

Waylon was an excellent student, a leader, athlete, surfer and fisherman beloved by all, friends said, and as news spread around the Island the community gathered to mourn and comfort each other.

On Thursday evening, Waylon was to be inducted into the National Honor Society, regional high school principal Sara Dingledy said, adding that the event had been postponed.

Waylon on Tuesday evening at Friendsgiving celebration for the Unified Basketball team.

“He was a great student in the class room, always curious and engaged, and this year I really saw him become a leader,” Ms. Dingledy said.

Waylon played on the high school basketball team and was also part of the Unified Basketball team this year, Ms. Dingledy said. Unified Basketball is a branch of the Special Olympics that joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.

“He really was the heart and soul of the team,” Ms. Dingledy said. “He played in the games and he sat with the team every day at lunch, always with that huge smile on his face. It speaks to his overall generosity of character.”

On Tuesday evening, Waylon and his parents participated in the annual Friendsgiving dinner with the Unified Basketball Team.

School adjustment counselor Amy Lilavois said she watched with pride as Waylon stepped into leadership roles this year at the high school.

“I’ve known Waylon since he was tiny and then this year I witnessed him as a true student leader in this building,” Ms. Lilavois said. “He recently took part in the Race and Culture Retreat we had, and he led the Wampanoag Youth Group, revitalizing that group and embracing his culture and inviting other Wampanoag students to participate in it.”

The show of grief at the school is a testament to how much Waylon meant to his peers and teachers and coaches, and the many lives he affected in a positive way, Ms. Dingledy said.

“It is devastating for the students, teachers and staff here,” she said. “Everyone felt connected to him.”

Ms. Lilavois stressed that grief counseling was immediately available for students, faculty and staff, and continues to be available for anyone who needs it.

“At times like this, this community drops everything to help,” she said. “Hospice came, the Island counseling Center came, four of the middle school counselors came, which was wonderful for the students to see those familiar faces. We are here for whomever needs help.”

Carrie Fyler, a former teacher of Waylon’s remembered him in a Facebook post.

“For a year and half Waylon walked into my corner classroom at MVRHS and made my space shine,” she wrote. “He had the best smile. He made my job fun and happy.... Smart and motivated but he knew there was more to life than straight As (although he usually got them anyway)... He cared and he acted from the heart. My heart breaks for all the people who will never get to know this beautiful soul.”

Ms. Lilavois said the thing she will always remember about Waylon is his smile.

“Every single time I saw Waylon he gave me a huge smile and a hello,” she said. “And I know he did that for everyone. He walked with his head held high, leading with his beautiful smile. That is how I will always remember him.”

A wake will be held at the family home at 20 Island Farms Road in West Tisbury on Saturday evening, Nov. 18. A graveside service will be held at the Gay Head Cemetery on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 12 p.m. with a funeral service to follow at the Agricultural Hall. Family and friends are invited to attend.