Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Candlelight vigil tonight for crash victims

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Albany/HV: Candlelight vigil tonight for crash victims
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Thousands of people are expected to attend a candlelight vigil tonight in honor of their classmates. Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, both Shenendehowa seniors, were killed in a car accident this weekend. Two other students were injured. Our Megan Cruz reports.

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- Thousands are expected to attend tonight's vigil at Shen: family and friends of Chris Stewart, Deanna Rivers, Matt Hardy, Bailey Wind and their two school communities: Shen and Shaker, and also more than a dozen other neighboring schools. All in memory of the two friends they've lost, and to support the two friends recovering from Saturday's accident.

Monday was a tough day for people, the first day back for the school communities after they heard of the news. At Shen, a memorial of flowers and notes has been growing for Chris and Deanna. It's become a place for people to gather and grieve together, and to keep their spirits up for Bailey and Matt, who are still in the hospital.

"Chris never hurt a fly and everyone loved Deanna. They are the nicest and they only deserve the best," said Matthew Hendrickson, a Shen junior.

"I didn't know who she was and she came up to me and say ‘hi’ on the first day. Just the nicest girl. She could friend anyone. It is going to be rough without them. I love both of them so much," said Connor Chatterton, a Shen junior.

That's what school administrators hope tonight's vigil will continue to be: a chance for people to come together to cope with what's happened to these four teens.

Chris was the captain of Shen's football team, and Deanna was a softball star. Both will have their numbers painted on the football field where the vigil will be held.

Some students, coaches, and school administrators will speak, then there will be balloon launches from both the football and softball fields in their honor. They also plan to dim the lights in the stadium so that everyone can light a candle.

Funeral arrangements have been set for both Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers.

Friends and family can pay their respects to Chris Stewart on Friday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Corpus Christi Church in Round Lake. A memorial Mass will be Saturday at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations may be made to St. Colman's Autistic Program in Watervliet in honor of his cousin, Andy.

Calling hours for Deanna Rivers will be on Wednesday from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Clifton Park. A funeral Mass will be Thursday at 10 a.m. at the church, with burial at St. Paul's Cemetery in Mechanicville. The family asks that donations be made to the Deanna Marie Rivers Memorial Scholarship at Shenendehowa Central School.

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