The Shenendehowa High School community is dealing with the loss of another student, as a senior described as “always smiling” died Thursday in a car crash on the way to school.
The Shenendehowa Central School District is prepared — and, unfortunately, experienced — to deal with tragedies such as a student dying. There is a crisis team and a gathering of students and staff, and procedures for dealing with the media and the like.
But no procedure, no crisis plan, mitigates the loss of a teen.
“Too many,” Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson said Thursday. “Too many is an understatement.
“There is no manual to tell you how to deal with it. Every circumstance is different.”
Two Shen seniors were killed in a December 2012 accident. Earlier this school year a student took his life. And on Thursday, a Shen senior slated to graduate next month died in a car accident on the way to school.
Hunter Cronin, 18, of Round Lake, died in a one-car accident in Clifton Park. According to state police, Cronin was traveling south on Wood Road when he failed to negotiate a curve at 7:44 a.m. His car swerved from the right shoulder to the left and overturned.
Cronin, who was traveling alone, was transported to Samaritan Hospital in Troy, where he was pronounced dead. According to a preliminary state police investigation, speed was a contributing factor.
Cronin attended Shen for half the day and BOCES vocational training for heating and ventilation in the afternoons. Even classmates who didn’t know him well described him as affable, Robinson said.
The latest death of a Shenendehowa student brings the other tragedies back to the forefront. “We stood on this path last year,” Robinson said. For all the preparation school officials undertake for these events, each case of a life lost packs an emotional wallop for staff and students alike.
“The reaction is always ‘Omigod,’ ” Robinson said. “ ‘Omigod, not again.’
“Sometimes the adults executing [the crisis plan] need support, too,” he added.
The school gathered the senior class to inform it of Cronin’s death and offer an opportunity to speak about the departed classmate.
“In these sad situations we come together best as a community,” Robinson said, speaking outside of the Shenendehowa High School East building, paces away from a memorial garden dedicated to students and staff who have died. “We want to celebrate a kid who always had a smile on his face.”