FOR THE RECORD (May 1, 1996): Correction: KaLee Role was a graduate of University High School. An article Tuesday incorrectly identified her alma mater.
Outwardly, there were few signs Monday that tragedy again hit West Valley High School.
Just an unnatural quiet.
“It seems like an emotional pall is hanging over the school,” said Principal Cleve Penberthy. “That’s what my antennae are picking up.”
Two recent West Valley graduates, Jade Moore, 18, and Telisha Shaver, 22, died Sunday after being severely beaten during an apparent robbery. Shaver’s sister, Venus, 19, remains hospitalized in stable condition.
On Monday, at least one classroom of students wanted more response to the weekend’s deaths. Senior Alyson Doede said, “I think we are learning denial very well.”
No message about counseling services went out on the public address system Monday. No moment of silence was called.
Counselor Helen Liberg said she saw a few students and former graduates who were friends of the young women. “I had two or three girls come down. It’s a very sad day for them,” she said. “There’s always an ‘I should have been there.”’
The 800-student school has suffered repeated misfortune this year.
A drive-by shooting in August wounded one West Valley student.
Last fall, a drinking party landed several athletes and cheerleaders in trouble, disrupting the school. In early March, West Valley student Anna Sherman, 16, died in a drunken driving accident.
Before the end of the month, another drunken driving accident killed another girl, KaLee Role, a 1995 graduate of the school.
Teacher Marguerite Munk opened up her senior advanced-placement English class on Monday for discussion of how well the school is dealing with tragedies.
“When something tragic happens,” said student Christina Scherr, “They need to know that we need to discuss it.”
Seniors in that class were critical of the way the school handled Sherman’s death. They wished school officials would have made some attempt to educate students about drinking and driving after that accident.
“I remember when Anna (died). Nobody did anything,” said Joli Jensen.
“The impact of Anna’s death could have been used to prove something,” said Luke Emerson. “Instead they just let it slip away.”
The seniors failed to agree on exactly what should be done now.
Penberthy said he will attend today’s advanced-placement English class to respond to student concerns. “I would just as soon get up and start screaming about this, if I thought it would do any good,” he said. He views the causes behind the young people’s deaths as a “cycle of poverty and violence and racism - as a cultural war.
“I think people are overwhelmed by this - another tragedy. We’re just trying to make sense of this.”