New Hartford, N.Y. - Students at New Hartford High School
outside of Utica
began the day with a moment of silence to remember Alex Kogut. She graduated in June, and was just beginning college life at SUNY Brockport when she was bludgeoned to death on Saturday.
“It’s an emotional day,” says Superintendent Robert Nole.
Nole knew Kogut as an “outstanding young woman, a student leader and captain of the swim team.” He also knew her accused killer. Clayton Whittemore graduated from the same school in 2010, a well known athlete.
“Staff have (sic) been struggling, trying to make sense of this in relation to the two students we knew,” says Nole.
Many students learned of the attack over the weekend through social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. Together they spread the word to wear the color purple.
It was Alex’s favorite. It is also the color adopted for domestic violence awareness. “Students are grasping now for something to provide the unity they need,” says Nole.
Students hugged each other outside school. Asked about the color they were wearing most of them declined to comment. One student did tell 13 WHAM News that she wanted to talk about Alex Kogut, but was told not to make a comment.
During special sessions throughout the day some students were brought into the school library to share their feelings. Other students put together cards for Kogut’s family.
The district sent home a letter to parents asking them to watch for signs of stress and grief in their children and to notify the district. The superintendent says counselors will be available “as long as needed.”