Sep 21, 2010 3:51 PM by Andy Koen

Grief counselors help Harrison students adjust to loss

A school district crisis team is working with counselors at Harrison High School to help students handle the loss of two of their classmates after they drowned in an accident at Prospect Lake in Memorial Park yesterday.

Principal Cheri Martinez says that Victorino DeJesus Martinez and Juan Neri Segura were both seniors at Harrison and were excited about graduating.

Victorino was captain of the varsity soccer team. Martinez says the team has canceled its matches this week.

"His teammates loved him, he added a great spark," she said.

Witnesses told News First 5 that the teenagers were swimming in Prospect Lake Monday afternoon when one of them began splashing and yelling for help.  A second person swam over and they both went under.

They had been under water for more than 40 minutes by the time divers with Colorado Springs Fire Department located the boys and pulled them out.  Paramedics attempted to revive them when they reach the shore but were unsuccessful.

Principal Martinez says teachers and staff have tried to maintain regularity in their classes today, in part to provide stability for students who are shaken by the loss.

"They're modeling a lot of strength to the kids today," Martinez said. "They're very shaken by this as well, but they're doing their best to keep our kids on task yet in a compassionate manner."

She says English was a second language for both students.  She credits Victorino's involvement in student athletics for driving him to succeed in school.

"He absolutely loved the game of soccer and really did his best to stay on track at school for that reason."

A candlelight vigil will be held in the student parking lot on campus tonight at 7:00.



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