Grief counselors were on hand at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge on Saturday as students mourn the loss of a fellow middle school student.
Cassidy Murray, 13, of Milton, Massachusetts, was killed in a boating accident while on vacation with her family in Aruba. Murray was in seventh grade at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School.
“It’s a tragedy and it’s a shock, and they’ve had a lot to navigate with COVID so this is really, really tough for all of us," said Seventh Grade Dean Jamie Wallace.
The middle school was open from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday for students and parents who are able to drop by and speak with counselors, teachers and advisors. Cards and service dogs were available.
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Parents said it is difficult to find the right words to talk about it with their kids.
“It’s an awful, awful, horrific thing that happened. And to let them essentially take their time and feel it out," said Alice Wang, who is a parent and the assistant director of admissions.
Her family released a statement and a photo of Cassidy Friday afternoon.
"It is with broken hearts that we share the news of the tragic passing of our daughter, Cassidy. Cassidy's beautiful spirit, genuinely kind heart, bright mind and joyful zest for life will be profoundly missed by all who knew and loved her," THe Murray family wrote.
"We thank everyone for their love and support and we ask that you please give us the time and space to grieve together privately during this difficult time."
Head of School Jennifer Price said in a letter to the school community announcing the tragedy.
"Cassidy entered the Middle School this year as a 7th grader, based in part on the strong recommendation of her brother Adam, a BB&N 10th grader who joined the Middle School four years ago. She wasted no time creating her own unique mark on the MS campus," Price said in her letter. "Her ever-present smile, infectious laugh, and upbeat personality knit together any group she was a part of. Classmates gravitated to her because of her genuine kindness and quiet modesty. Her friends knew from the very first week of school that she would be a trusted, warm confidant with a great sense of fun and camaraderie."
Price said Cassidy was known for taking on new challenges, like drama class or playing hockey this winter for the first time. She also spent many years participating in gymnastics.
"We all hold the Murray family—Linda, David, and Adam—close in our thoughts and hearts," she continued. "At this moment, as we all struggle to make sense of this tragic news, we need to support each other, and especially Cassidy’s and Adam’s classmates and friends, as we navigate through the complex process of coping with our grief."
On Monday, faculty and students will gather to start the day in class meetings.
"With senseless tragedies such as this, the truth is that there is no universally 'right' way to cope with the situation," she said. "Each of us, adults and children, who are affected by this acutely sad news will need to grieve and process in our own unique way. What I do know about the BB&N community is this: We will all be there in our own way to lend a hand or an ear to anyone who is struggling, to lean on each other, and to keep the Murray family in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers in these days and weeks ahead."