ST. JAMES, Mo. — Classes will begin at St. James School District this Thursday, one week after a crash involving two school buses took the lives of two teenagers.
“At this time, it is hard to imagine returning to our regular daily lives. Certainly, as a community, the days ahead will be filled with emotions that will weigh heavily on all of us. At the same time, this community has an expectation of the schools. The same families that we hold hands with and mourn with are the same families who expect us to be strong and to do our jobs by providing the students of this community the education they deserve,” St. James Superintendent Joy Tucker said in a statement.
Tucker went on to say that the district will provide students, staff and families with support and counseling.
“Additional counselors from neighboring communities have offered their support, as have professionals from our area, and we will make them available to those who need them. Ultimately, we assure our families that we will continue to provide a safe, caring environment in which our students may learn,” she said.
To further support those affected by the crash, the St. James School District’s Parent, Teacher, Community Organization will sponsor a spaghetti dinner/silent auction on Aug. 21.
The funds raised will go to the families of the crash victims — 15-year-old Jessica Brinker, who attended a high school at the district, and 19-year-old Daniel Schatz of Sullivan, Mo. — and those who were severely injured.
Community members in St. James and Sullivan gathered last Friday to honor the memories of Brinker and Schatz. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a vigil was held for Schatz at Sullivan High School where he had excelled as a quarterback on the football team.
A service was held for Brinker at St. James United Methodist Church.
As SBF previously reported, last Thursday’s crash involved a tractor trailer cab, two school buses and a pickup truck. The buses were taking high school band members to a Six Flags amusement park when the collision occurred.
In addition to the deaths of Brinker and Schatz, 55 people were injured in the incident, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reports.