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Students mourn the deaths of their classmates

9:09 PM, Jan 31, 2011   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- It's another Monday morning, another school day, except this one begins with one less student. Principal Carla Bruning at King High School asks students for a moment of silence in memory of 16-year-old Calyx Schenecker.

The sophomore is described as the ideal student and one who loved life. Many students are wearing a picture of her meditating on the beach.

"Calyx was the model child. She was smart, athletic, cute and had a sense of humor," says Bruning.

Michael Actable ran with Calyx in track and expresses his loss with a t-shirt he made. On the front, there's Calyx's year book picture with her name. On the back, it says, "In Loving Memory."

"She was powerful that way. I'd motivate her. She'd motivate me," says Actable.

Other students are wearing ribbons in green and silver. Green was Calyx's favorite color. She loved Harry Potter and started a club based on the book series. Some students wore to school scarves and capes like the main character in the book, in Calyx's memory.

"We've seen lots of hugging, crying, grieving and talking about the fun times they've had," says Bruning.

So far, 87 students have reached out to the crisis team on King High School's campus. "A lot of kids crying, sad, trying to get through the day," says one student.

"The kids have questions but they realize they may never have answers to this tragic event," explains Bryan Noll, a school social worker and part of the crisis team at King High School.

It's a similar scene at Liberty Middle School, where Calyx's 13-year-old brother, Beau, attended 8th grade. More than 200 students have turned to counselors for help.

A memorial is growing in an outside hallway at the school. One student writes, "It's hard to believe we lost you in such a horrible way."

"He was a wonderful kid, well-liked, played soccer. We have lots of kids wearing #31," says Jim Ammirati, principal at Liberty Middle School. The principal says many students showed up wearing blue to school, which was Beau's favorite color.

School social worker Bryan Noll says from what he's seen today, Calyx's friends are resilient. Noll says, "Based on my experience and what I've seen here today, they're very supportive of one another."

Calyx's classmates and friends are planning a memorial, not so much to mourn her death, but to celebrate her very short life.

Isabel Mascarenas, 10 News

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