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Lowville school dealing with apparent suicide of student

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LOWVILLE — Lowville Academy and Central School District is dealing with the loss of a member of its senior class over the weekend to an apparent suicide.

“We’re trying to provide any support to students and staff members, as well,” District Superintendent Cheryl R. Steckly said.

Alisha M. Kennell, 17, was found dead early Sunday at her residence, according to village police.

“There are no easy answers,” Mrs. Steckly said.

The superintendent said she met Sunday with High School Principal Daniel J. Cushing and Middle School Principal Scott D. Exford, then held meetings of the district’s crisis team and faculty before school Monday morning.

Counselors from the Copenhagen and South Lewis school districts and Mountain View Prevention Services have been brought in to assist the Lowville district.

“We have a counseling center set up in the library,” Mrs. Steckly said. “Students can come and go as they please.”

Counseling resources will be available throughout the week, she said.

The district also canceled all after-school activities scheduled for Monday and plans to ease back into the posted schedule only as deemed appropriate, Mrs. Steckly said.

This was slated to be Spirit Week in anticipation of Homecoming this weekend, but those activities now will be postponed for a few weeks, she said.

Students will be excused for calling hours and the funeral, Mrs. Steckly said.

District officials plan to work with students to come up with ways to honor Miss Kennell’s memory, possibly at Homecoming and graduation, she said.

The Lowville superintendent said she was thankful to leaders from other area school districts for providing support and offering staff members.

“It’s a wonderful community,” she said. “People all pitch in to help.”

A Facebook page established to honor Miss Kennell’s memory had about 2,000 people liking it as of Monday afternoon.

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