Plymouth Residents Grieving Together Over Loss...
Posted August 1, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
PLYMOUTH — Plymouth is a small, close knit community and everyone in the town knew one of the ten students that died. No one can believe it happened, and Thursday night, people in the town came together to share their grief.
The stench of diesel fuel still hangs in the air at the site where the 10 teenagers died. By sundown, more than a dozen mourners had come to the lonely stretch of road to embrace, to cry, to place flowers, and to remember.
A Plymouth restaurant was serving more than Italian food Thursday night. The staff made red ribbons and gave them to those who came to eat, each one to symbolize a prayer.
"I just want the families to know, and those children, that everybody's praying," said Jeanette Price, restaurant owner. "It does help to pray. It makes us feel better."
"I have children myself and it could have been one of them," said Brenda Jackson, restaurant employee. "I knew all of the children and they were all good children. They were real good children."
At Plymouth High School, flowers stand in the main hallway and in the principle's office. In the parking lot, 11-year-old Benjamin Simmons mourned the loss of his cousin, Christy Toodle.
People pledging support have called the school all day. Lucretia Wearring, a teacher whose school lost a student two years ago, drove over from the next county.
Counselors returned to Plymouth High School at 9:00 Friday morning in order to help people deal with the loss. So far, four funerals have been planned. There is no concrete plan yet for a city-wide memorial service because the planners of that event do not want to interfere with any plans that families may have made.
If you would like to help, town leaders have set up a scholarship fund in memory of the ten students. Contributions can be mailed to the Plymouth High School Band Memorial Fund:
Plymouth High School Band Memorial Fund Plymouth High School P.O. Box 827 Plymouth, North Carolina 27962
A Plymouth High School band student will receive the scholarship and the student will be selected by an academic booster committee.