Buchanan remembers lost classmatePublished 7:41pm Tuesday, January 17, 2012
BUCHANAN — The words were written in pink marker on a large white banner resting on a table in the Buchanan High School cafeteria.
“It doesn’t seem fair, what happened to Sammy,” wrote one student. “She was a nice girl who was a joy to talk to. I will miss seeing her smiling face at school.”
It was one of many messages written by Buchanan students for their junior classmate Samantha Abbott, who died along with her mother, Tina, 41, in a car accident in Niles Dec. 29.
Samantha’s classmates filed into the cafeteria Tuesday evening to sign the banner during a memorial fundraiser for the Abbotts hosted by Buchanan Schools.
The banner will be given to the surviving members of the Abbott family: Samantha’s father, Darryl, sister, Sarah, and brother, Christopher.
“I really didn’t realize how supportive this community could be before now,” said Sarah Abbott, who graduated from Buchanan High School a year ago. “We are really thankful for everything they are doing and everyone that is supporting us.”
Most students at the memorial were wearing ribbons colored purple and blue, which were Samantha’s favorite colors. Members of the student body made the ribbons last week and gave them to classmates. They also made posters and held memorial sessions to remember the 17-year-old girl described most often by the words “shy” and “nice.”
“She was the quiet one, but it wasn’t like it was somebody who wasn’t there,” said Abby Parris, junior class vice president. “You could talk to her about anything, and she would just listen to you. There is definitely an empty seat, an empty place in our class for her.”
The school’s food service staff volunteered to stay after school and serve a chili and baked potato dinner for those who attended the memorial. The Buchanan Athletic Boosters also donated the money raised from the 50/50 raffle during the last two home games.
All money raised goes to the Abbott family.
“We thought we needed to do something because they are such nice people and it was such a tragic event,” said Kyle Zelmer, junior class president. “We are a very close-knit community, and we knew we needed to help out any way we could. It is just so sad.”