Elementary school mourns young student
Published: October 20, 2012
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ST. CROIX - It was a solemn day at Evelyn Williams Elementary School on Friday as news that one of the school's most promising students had died suddenly due to medical complications.
Fourth-grader Dejanae Joseph, died Friday at Luis Hospital from complications related to an existing medical condition, and the V.I. Education Department extended condolences to her home and school family circles, according to Education spokeswoman Ananta Pancham.
"School administrators and staff were notified of the situation early Friday morning and have been working with members of the district's crisis response team to provide counseling services for students and staff on campus," Pancham said in a statement issued Friday. "The school's counselor and nurse also spent the morning with the student's family members."
V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said the girl experienced medical complications and was being taken to the hospital by her mother, when the woman lost control of the car near Sunny Acres on Melvin Evans Highway. The car had minor damages, but the collision was not related to the girl's death, according to Rames, who refused to provide any additional information.
According to the police incident log, the accident was reported to 911 dispatchers at 2:56 a.m.
St. Croix School Superintendant Gary Molloy said the department held a strategy session and met with all the fourth-graders, and additional counselors will be available next week to talk with more students and identify their needs and concerns to help them through the time of grief.
Molloy added that the passing of such a young, vibrant student weighs heavily on the hearts of everyone in the district.
"It is always difficult to see a child leave this life without getting the chance to grow, realize their dreams and reach their full potential," Molloy said in a prepared statement. "That we are talking about someone so young is even more heartbreaking, and we offer our sincere condolences to her family and all the administrators and staff at Evelyn Williams."
Education Commissioner LaVerne Terry issued a statement saying that Dejanae's quiet and affable personality had made her a favorite in the classroom, not only with her peers but with her teachers as well.
"It is with great regret that I offer my condolences to her family and the school's staff as they mourn her loss and try to recover from this tragedy," Terry said.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.