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Students remember classmates killed in Northway crash
LATHAM -- Honoring those passed, supporting those still here. Tuesday was considered "Remembrance Day" at the Shaker and Shenendehowa High Schools nearly a year after a deadly crash on the Northway that took two lives.
This is a very emotional week for the Shenendehowa and Shaker communities, one which could be difficult for an adult to get through, let alone a teenager. But, They've turned grief in to something greater.
"It was our students that really showed us the way," said Shaker High School principal Richard Murphy.
If you looked around, you might think you were in the Shenendehowa cafeteria. But at Shaker, at times a great rival to Shen, a united show of support you wouldn't find anywhere. The kids came up with the idea to wear Shen colors this day, nearly a year after one of their own was injured in a crash on the Northway. Bailey Wind graduated from here. Shen's Matt Hardy was also hurt. Shen students Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers passed away on that December night.
"We all came together when the accident did take place," said Shaker junior Emily Farrell. "People who were close with the families, people who weren't. It brought our schools and our community together and it created a new sense of support."
In fact, some of those families came back to witness the spirit born out of something so horrific -- Dawn Wind wearing Shen green, the Stewart's sporting Shaker blue.
"If you were up at Shen right now you'd see probably half their student body wearing our Shaker blue," Murphy said.
18 years old at the most, these young people have been through the stages of loss, now showing it this way.
"It's a great teachable moment for kids, and for us to work through a process," said hall principal Jan Zadoorian.
And, they'll even pass along thanks for doing it. "I've witnessed other people doing that, or even just a smile when you walk by," said Shaker senior Audrey Jelstrom.
Students at both schools remembered their loss showing colors shortly after the crash last year, and they might still in the future, "maybe not talking about the tragedy every year but definitely the sense of community I think will continue," Jelstrom said.
This week is significant not only because it marks one year since that crash, but also because the man who admitted guilt in causing it will be sentenced on Thursday. Dennis Drue faces 5-15 years in prison. Bailey Wind plans to make a victim impact statement at that time, while Drue looks on in the courtroom.