Fairport High School Candlelight Vigil Live Coverage Fairport High School Principal David Paddock on the Tragic Accident Discuss in our Community Forum
Fairport Tragedy Complete Coverage
Fairport, N.Y. -- The grassy hill behind Fairport High School twinkled with hundreds of tiny lights Wednesday night, each representing a personal memorial for five young women whose lives ended abruptly--Hannah Congdon, Bailey Goodman, Meredith Mcclure, Sara Monnat, and Katie Shirley.
The Fairport community is in mourning. While the sad news quickly passed among some students through the osmosis of instant messaging, parents and others communicated almost silently through hushed voices, shaking heads, and downcast glances.
In formal and informal gatherings throughout the day, residents of the town have been reaching out to help students and their families cope through this difficult time. Many arms, hands, and hearts have been outstretched offering and seeking comfort when words cannot describe the unimaginable.
At a service held at St. John of Rochester Church, FHS Principal Dave Paddock spoke to students and families about how love--for the girls, their families, and for each other--will get them through this tragedy.
He also asked students to support him.
"Come on in. I need you there...I'm going to need some help tomorrow," he said.
Paddock is planning a memorial service at the school for the five victims later in the week.
Fairport High School will be open again on Thursday with counselors will be available for students.
Drawn to the Hill before Dawn
Students began gathering before 5 a.m. on the hill. Principal Dave Paddock said they began arriving 15 minutes after he sent an email to parents and students explaining what happened to Bailey, Hannah, Meredith, Katie, and Sara.
"I walked out about a quarter of five and there were about 50 kinds on the hill and they just kept coming,” he said. “I was out there with the kids for two hours as they waited for the counselors to get here…Makeshift counseling happened on that hill amongst the kids and it was just powerful.”
The victims' classmate Marcus Merriman said, "They all brought different personalities to the table and brought everything together. We're all really going to miss them.”
Merriman said he was very good friends with the girls. He said they were all really good friends and spent much of their free time together.
Paddock said he knew all of the girls very well, especially Hannah Congdon, who had been on a school trip with him to India.
The principal also has a cottage on Keuka Lake and said the girls recently came over for a picnic. He said those memories are helping him through the day.