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'Gone too soon but never forgotten': Evart High School remembers Dylan Shaw

DYLAN SHAW.jpeg

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Evart community is grieving the loss of one of their own after 15-year-old Dylan Shaw fell through ice in the Muskegon River on Thursday.

Monday was students’ first day back to school since the accident.

Being a small school with less than 300 students, losing Dylan is being felt immensely by every student and staff member.

But because it's such a tight-knit community, everyone is also stepping in, to get through this difficult time together.

“Dylan was a really nice, respectful young man,” said Jessica Kolenda, the principal of Evart High School.

The care-free, nonchalant presence of 15-year-old Dylan Shaw, is now missing from the halls of Evart High School.

“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Kolenda. “I cannot imagine. My heart just absolutely breaks for the family.”

But the school is trying their best to help everyone reeling from his passing.

A memorial is set up in the cafeteria, with the chair Dylan sat in every day, and supplies to write notes to him and his family.

“Peace love and hope,” read one of the notes. “Gone to soon never forgotten.”

The Mecosta-Osceola Crisis Response Team was also on site, leading small group debriefing sessions.

“We have over 40 people additional people in the building today,” said Kolenda. “To assist in helping students and staff cope.”

There was also something for those struggling to even begin the process.

“Some students don’t want to talk about the grief,” said William Engelter, Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response Team Leader. “But they’ll sit and pet the dog all day long.”

Five comfort dogs and their handlers from Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response went to all of Dylan’s classes, and just being there for whoever might need them.

“Just providing whatever type of emotional support that the dogs will allow them to help them heal, to help them progress,” said Engelter.

All these resources offering their support in mere hours following the tragedy, showing that the best way to start picking up the pieces is with the help of others.

“I wouldn’t do it with any other team than what has been here today,” said Kolenda.

The school knows this is going to be a long process, taking it day by day and knowing what each student needs is different saying they are prepared for it to be another difficult process when Dylan's body is recovered.

Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is a national organization, but all five handlers and dogs assisting at the school this week are volunteers, all from Michigan.

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