GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) The deaths of three students last year and overcoming those tragedies are on the minds of administrators as school begins in Gatesville.
“It’s tough. Things like that always can have a negative effect,” said Gatesville Superintendent Barrett Pollard.
Chloe V. Janisch, 17, died May 23, Kyle Tennison and Ethan Sandell, both 16, died April 22, all three in vehicle crashes, and their deaths rattled the student body, staff, and the whole city.
Trees were planted in memory of the three teenagers, but as the start of the new school year approaches, it may be the death of another student five years ago that can bring the student body together to honor their classmates and to learn from their deaths.
Ethan Brown was 14 when he died of an adrenal tumor on May 17, 2014.
Pollard seized an opportunity to bring closure to the district when he was approached by Brown’s mother, Christine Warren-Brown, who asked that her son be memorialized, as well.
“I approached the previous superintendent when Ethan died about a memorial bench but he told me no,” Warren-Brown said.
“But Mr. Pollard said it was a good idea.”
Pollard said when Warren-Brown spoke with him about the issue he was so moved “I told her I’d pay for the bench myself.”
The marble bench still is being built at a monument factory in Gatesville.
When it’s finished it will include a photograph of Ethan, plus a message, Warren-Brown said.
Pollard says he’ll arrange a public event at the junior high school, where Ethan was a student, to have it placed.