New Denver school ‘hurting’ after Slocan Lake tragedy

The principal of Lucerne elementary secondary says his school is “hurting” after the tragedy involving youth who were enrolled there.

Lucerne elementary secondary school in New Denver has about 100 students. Lily Harmer-Taylor

The principal of Lucerne elementary secondary in New Denver says his school is “hurting” after the weekend canoeing accident involving youth who were enrolled there.

In a statement posted on the school’s website, Drew Neilson told parents that they are “doing everything reasonably possible” to help students and support affected families.

Lily Harmer-Taylor, 19, who was weeks away from graduating from the school was pulled from a canoe that capsized Saturday afternoon on Slocan Lake but died in hospital. A dive team is still looking for Jule Wiltshire-Padfield, 15, Hayden Kyle, 21, and Skye Donnet, 18.

Neilson said they are working with the school counsellor and counsellors to ensure appropriate levels of support both students and those who work with them.

“We are also providing school space for parents or others in the community who would like to connect with each other or counsellors,” he wrote. “In responding to tragic events it is important to remember that as parents and teachers we are patient and understanding.”

He encouraged parents to contact support workers if they were concerned about their children, themselves, or anyone else.

“As a school community we will do our best to continue the daily routines and practices that are important to the stability and comfort of our students,” he added.

“I want to extend to you the love and sorrow our staff have for all families and community members who are facing this terrible event.”

He thanked first responders, searchers, and hospital staff. “We also deeply appreciate the support shown by the community to us as a school staff and are reminded of the beauty of humanity as we see you all supporting each other.”

Lucerne has about 100 students.

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