Grief counselors ready in South Range

NORTH LIMA — As long as it is needed, South Range School District will provide counseling services to help pupils cope with the recent death of one of their peers.

High school Principal Phillip Latessa said pupils are responding well to the counseling services that were initiated Saturday morning after administrators received word senior Tricia Lenio of Canfield had been killed in a traffic accident earlier that morning in Austintown.

“It's not easy, and I would much rather be talking about a new program or great test scores or something positive happening here.

Anything but this,” Latessa said. “But we’re doing what we can to help our students and their families through this. That’s our main concern right now, our students, their families and Tricia’s family. She was a wonderful girl and we miss her tremendously.”

Austintown police said 18-year-old Lenio was traveling east on Kirk Road early Saturday when her vehicle went off the right side of the road, hit a large rock, then struck a utility pole. Police said she died at the scene. Lenio was planning to attend Youngstown State University and major in education.

School remained in session on Monday and will continue today. However, Latessa said pupils attending today’s memorial services for Lenio will be excused from their classes.

He said counselors, including area clergy and district administrators and staff, are on hand to help pupils.

“During school, after school, whenever it’s needed, we want to be here,” Latessa said.

“We want them to know we’re here and they’re not alone. I think this is needed and is a way to comfort the students. We realize this is going to take some time and a lot of work needs to be done. Many of the students internalize and are trying to rationalize this. Like I said, it’s a tremendous loss. We all feel it.”

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