A shining lesson out of a dark loss
By Cristina Kumka
STAFF WRITER | September 29,2012
Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Teacher Teressa Newland, one of the last people to talk to Carly Ferro before she was killed, spoke during a candlelight vigil Thursday at Rutland High School.
The sadness came quickly, then realization, then mourning.
The death of 17-year-old Carly Ferro of Rutland was sudden, and so was the way the people who knew her were moved to deal with it.
At Rutland High School, those who played sports or music with Carly, or just said “hi” to her in the halls, gathered in a circle Thursday night outside the school under the auburn fall sky and embraced each other through many sniffles and tears.
They used each other for support, like group therapy.
“In my experience as an administrator, students often find comfort in one another,” said RHS Associate Principal Pam Reed, who is in charge of support services for students.
“Being able to talk about their feelings — whatever they may be — with those experiencing similar emotions is powerful,” Reed said.
“Additionally, because some students may be experiencing this type of loss for the first time, they see that there’s a wide variety of ways that people deal with their grief and they can be more comfortable with their own thoughts and emotions,” she said.
Students at the vigil talked about what they missed about Carly after she was gone.
Another student was angry and demanded justice.
The student asked to have whoever was responsible for killing her classmate to feel the same loss the group was feeling at that moment.
Reed said adults were critical to the organized remembrance ceremony Thursday, and made the process of grieving healthier.
“With adult support, students talking and processing in groups feel a sense of validation and belonging,” Reed said. “They come to know that they are not alone and have peers and adults to turn to,” Reed said.
In addition to verbalizing their feelings, students wore white on Thursday and Carly’s favorite color, purple, on Friday.
Carly’s school locker was adorned with a paper for students to sign.
Football players were expected to wear a purple sticker on their helmets at their game Friday night in her memory.
And students are thinking about how they want to remember their friend in a more permanent way at the school, Reed said.
RHS visiting teacher Teressa Newland was one of the last people who knew Carly to see her alive.
It was about 5 p.m. Wednesday when she was in the checkout aisle of the Rutland Discount Food store with her 5-year-old when she saw Carly working there.
It was the third time this week Newland saw Carly, twice at school and once out. She said something inside her prompted her to tell the girl something she had been meaning to say for some time.
Newland, a new guest teacher of foreign language and science at RHS, had decided to take up the violin but nearly quit.
That was until Carly, the first violinist in the school’s advanced orchestra, encouraged her not to give up.
“The last thing I told her was ‘thank you,’” Newland said.
As her 5-year-old rushed her out of the door, Newland said she wanted to ask Carly what her future plans were — where she would be going to college.
But, she thought, she would see Carly tomorrow at school.
That day never came.
“We give to the kids but they give us so much more,” Newland said, a single tear running down her face.