Two High Schools Brace For Grieving Students On Tuesday

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Two died and three others were injured when an SUV crashed into a tree in South Windsor Saturday night. (Ken Gosselin, Hartford Courant)

With teenagers in East Windsor and Vernon mourning the deaths of two friends in a horrific weekend car wreck, grief counselors will be assigned to high schools in both communities when classes resume Tuesday morning.

Friends have been adding reminiscences to an “RIP Brooke Wormstedt” page that was created on Facebook soon after the Saturday night crash, and others have delivered stuffed bears, flowers, balloons and posters to a steadily growing makeshift memorial at the scene.

Wormstedt, a 15-year-old sophomore at East Windsor High School, and Matthew Masse, a 18-year-old senior from Vernon, were killed when the SUV they were riding in apparently went out of control and slammed into a tree along Abbe Road in South Windsor.

All three others in the 2003 Ford Expedition were hurt. Police identified them as the driver, 19-year-old Sara S. Ballard of South Windsor, and passengers Christine E. Huppe, 17, of South Windsor, and Megan E. Barnaby, 16, of East Windsor.

Police previously said all three had been taken to hospitals after the crash with non-life-threatening injuries. South Windsor police did not release information Monday about their conditions, and provided no new details about the crash, where the five teens were going or what they’d been doing beforehand.

Masse, who police described as a female who identifies as male, was Vernon student but did not attend Rockville High School, according to schools Superintendent Mary Conway. Masse would have graduated with the class of 2013, and school officials will discuss how to mark her death in the ceremonies next month.

Rockville High will have grief counselors on hand all day Tuesday for students who seek assistance.

“Our sympathy is with the family. I can’t imagine what they’re going through,” Conway said Monday afternoon.

East Windsor High School also will have grief counselors in the building Tuesday.

“We will begin the day in our advisory classes to make students aware of the assistance available to them. I am sure that our thoughts are with the families affected by these events, and I ask all students to work together to assist each other through this difficult time,” Principal Edward Keleher said in an email to students and parents over the weekend.

“My understanding is our superintendent, has been working with the administration throughout the weekend to make sure all supports and services will be in place for the students starting with their return, Christopher Mickey, chairman of East Windsor’s school board, said Monday afternoon.

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