Family and friends of Bridget Giere and Stephanie Carlson pay their respects at crash site.
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On Monday, Dec. 5, 300 to 400 friends and family of Bridget Giere and Stephanie Carlson gathered at the intersection of Highway 96 and Old Highway 10 to commemorate their lives.
After noticing that students were stopping their cars in the middle of the busy intersection to visit the crash site and lay memorials for Giere and Carlson, the Ramsey County Department of Transportation decided to block off the site for a 30 minute memorial, giving people a safe period of time to pay their respects. Students either drove or took buses from Mounds View to North Heights Lutheran Church, where they walked to the site of the crash.
At the memorial, students were given the opportunity to leave flowers and other small tokens of remembrance for the girls; however, for many students, it was more than just a place to leave flowers. It was a place to say goodbye and reflect on memories.
Lauren O’Dougherty, 12, brought some tennis gear to lay at the cross for Bridget. “Me and many other girls on the tennis team brought tennis-related things to show our respect…tennis racquets, signed tennis balls, and a big poster.” she said. “Every time you see Bridget she [had] a smile on her face which radiates to everyone else and makes them want to smile too.”
What began as a simple act of laying flowers quickly turned into a deep understanding for one another. Friends and family stood in a wide circle around the crosses as people laid flowers at their bases. When all the flowers were laid, the circled filled in as everyone linked together embracing, with those in the middle reaching out to the crosses.
For 15 minutes, students stood in silence as they reflected on their memories with the girls. Cynthia Guerrero, 11, was a close friend of Carlson and Giere. “We all loved going to bonfires and making s’mores and playing music and just running around and fooling around [together],” said Guerrero. “We would have bonfire nights a lot during the summer.”
As the student body begins to heal and understand the events of Dec. 1, Junior Officer Paige Leiser wants the girls to know how important they were. “I want them to know that they are valued by our school and that their friends will miss them. I’ve seen how close they were with their friends over the past few days, and they [will always] have a special friendship with the girls in the junior class,” she said.
A photo album by junior Ellie Tsai capturing this past week can be found here:
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