FAIRFIELD – A memorial on the Lawrence High School campus serves as a reminder of students who died too soon.
Lawrence High and Junior High School students are preparing for the second funeral in recent days. They are remembering three classmates they lost in a Clinton car crash.
There’s a statue outside the high school’s annex building reminding them about prior tragedies.
About two decades ago, there was a string of five deaths in a short period of time — all involving local students.
Their names are inscribed on a plaque at the foot of a metal statue that features two students in graduation caps facing each other.
It reads, “In memory of our friends.”
“Unfortunately, in my years here we’ve experienced this maybe a couple decades ago,” Superintendent Roberta Hersom, a longtime school employee, said last week. “It’s a very vivid memory.”
She later added, “It’s always a painful and it’s just really difficult for any human being to understand and process.”
The memorial list includes Michael Bourgoin, Blake Perry, Amy Landry, Gary Massey and Robert Chapman.
Bourgoin was a 17-year-old senior from Clinton who died Feb. 29, 2000 from complications involving a snowmobile crash about a month prior.
Perry, 17, from Albion, died in Belgrade during the summer of 1998 in a swimming accident on Great Pond. Landry, 17, of Fairfield also died that summer after her car struck a utility pole along Martin Stream Road in her hometown.
Massey was an 18-year-old from Clinton who was killed when the car he was a passenger in slammed into a tree on Lower Ridge Road in Fairfield.
“I would like for the young people to realize that life is very, very fragile,” Clinton Police Chief Stanley Bell, said last week. “And that they need to think twice before they get in a vehicle with anybody.”
A 16-year-old unlicensed driver lost control of his parent’s car on Feb. 9 and crashed on Hinkley Road. His friends, Thomas Porfirio, 15, and sisters Emily Baker, 14, and Ashlin Baker, 12, died at the scene.
The driver and another passenger, Nevaeh Wilson, 12, both suffered broken bones.
Porfirio’s funeral was Saturday and the memorial service for the Baker sisters begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Lawrence High School’s Williamson Center.
“I think they really need to think about how quickly you can go from what you believe is a fun time to lost forever,” the police chief said.