I am so sad to write to you about the loss of one of our former students, Raquel Ashkenazi. At this point, it continues to appear to be a tragic accident.
Raquel attended Newton South as a freshman and sophomore, and she would have been a senior this year. A very bright, dynamic young woman, Raquel was a talented student who showed great promise. Raquel has maintained relationships with a wide circle of friends from her elementary and middle school years in Newton Public Schools. By nature, she was extremely kind and compassionate, and touched many people because of her friendly, non-judgmental, and open-minded style. Raquel was never shy about lending a positive voice and personal opinion within a classroom, or in standing up in support of a friend.
Needless to say, we shared a very sad day today. Students and staff are taking care of each other, and will continue to do so in the future. I would like to take this moment to encourage you to have a meaningful conversation with your children about the unexpected loss of a friend and classmate. Different people grieve differently and you may see different reactions to this news. Some tips on working with your teen through the grieving process can be found at https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/addressing-grief or see this document, Helping Children Cope With Tragic Loss.
Also, we wanted to be sure that you have information about what to do if someone you know needs additional support through the grieving process.
At school, guidance counselors and deans have and will continue to be available for any students who are in need of support. We will also be offering the opportunity for students to engage in professionally facilitated coping groups here at the school.
In addition, the following resources may be useful for finding other support for a grieving student or adult:
- Riverside Outpatient Center: 617-969-4925
64 Eldredge Street, Newton MA
- William James College Interface Referral Service: 888-244-6843
If you have specific concerns about your son or daughter, please contact your child’s guidance counselor.
As always, thank you for your partnership.