Verbena students mourn loss of classmate

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A day after the tragic death of 9-year-old Lacey Nance, the overall mood at Verbena School on Tuesday did not carry the excitement that normally precedes summer break.

The Verbena fourth grader was killed Monday — just two days before her 10th birthday — after being struck by an SUV in front of Big Springs Church on Chilton County Road 59. Nance had been riding her bicycle prior to the accident.

“It’s a feeling of loss for sure,” Verbena Principal Larry Raines said. “It almost goes without saying. There has been a lot of concern from the students and teachers for the family, and they have expressed that concern off and on all day.”

Counselors at the school, Dr. Brenda O’Bannon and Jackie Fike, along with teachers, offered support to the students throughout the day.

Both the faculty and students strove to maintain as much normalcy as possible, Raines said.

“We felt like it was best to go on with our everyday activities, and the students did too,” he said.

The loss of a student is nothing new to Raines and the Verbena family. In the past four years, the school has lost two seniors and one recently graduated student.

“The staff and students have really been strong, and they’ve taken it and made the best of everything,” Raines said. “This puts everyday life and living right at the forefront.”

Wednesday, the school is planning to hold a special birthday party during snack time in memory of Nance. A volunteer will provide cake for the fourth grade class, and the school is accepting donations of snack foods.

Also, the community is taking up a love offering to help pay for funeral expenses. Anyone who wishes to donate should contact either Lynn Hauswirth or Ruth Easterling. Both are fourth grade teachers at Verbena and may be reached at 280-2820.

“Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers,” stated a letter sent home with students Tuesday.