Wilber-Clatonia students will be returning from a long holiday break with counselors ready to help them grieve Monday.
Last Sunday, Wilber-Clatonia senior Lucas Bowers died. According to Bower’s obituary, he was born Oct. 24, 1995 in Fairbury.
Wilber-Clatonia Superintendent Ray Collins said Bowers was an athletic student participating in football, basketball, wrestling and track during his years at Wilber-Clatonia High School and even was pursuing the possibility of playing football in college.
He was also very involved in business classes and FBLA club at school, Collins said.
Counselors arrived at the school Monday for students, but Collins said because Bower’s death happened over the holiday it has not been easy to reach students.
“It has been a little difficult responding to this one because it happened over the Christmas break, and we haven’t had that immediate access to kids and the ability to share information that we would have if school was going on,” Collins said. “That just really kind of complicates things.”
Bowers is not the first student to die from the class of 2014 and Collins said that also weighs on the situation.
“There comes a point in time when you can say, 'Wow, this happens an awful lot,'” Collins said. “Even as adults we question why, why does this happen, why does this happen to us and I think the real challenge is coming up with some answers. I don’t know if we have any,” Collins said.
Collins and staff members met Friday for an in-service day and began discussing how to approach Monday when students return.
“When the students get back, we will try to help them to understand the grief process and the fact that everyone is going to be on different parts on the grieving continuum and to respect each other's feeling,” Collins said.
In additions to counselors for the students, the administration will treat Bower’s death as other crises and provide substitutes for teachers who want to take a break during the school day.
“We want to let everyone know as a school system our mission is to put kids first and help them through this process as much as we possibly can,” Collins.
Bowers’ funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. today (Saturday) at Sokol Hall in Wilber.