BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa school community is in mourning following the recent deaths of a student and a recent graduate, both of whom had family connections to the district, school officials said Thursday.
Lucas DeFabio died earlier this month at age 11 after a lifelong battle with Menkes disease, a genetic mutation that interferes with absorption of copper. He attended an inclusive learning program at Gordon Creek Elementary School.
His mother, Tina DeFabio, is a Ballston Spa High School English teacher. She and her husband, Daniel DeFabio, are planning a celebration of his life in the future, when it is safe to travel and hold social gatherings. The DeFabios also have a son, Alex, who attends Malta Avenue Elementary School.
The recent graduate who died was Daniel Banker, who moved to the district during high school and took advanced placement classes, and had talent in art. His art was exhibited, and he volunteered to teach art to children at the Ballston Spa Community Center during summers. He was an active member of the High School Robotics Team and designed the team’s mascot.
After high school, he earned an engineering science degree from Hudson Valley Community College and worked as a design systems and IT specialist for an engineering and construction firm. His cause of death was not disclosed.
His mother, Pamela Banker, was employed by the district as a teaching assistance at Milton Terrace Elementary School and the high school, and performed in other roles for the district.
“The loss of a child is an unspeakable tragedy for any parent and school community. Our hearts go out to the Banker family,” said Superintendent Ken Slentz.
The Ballston Spa High School Robotics Club is expected to establish a scholarship in his honor.