Grief counselors at St. Thomas High School to help students cope with loss of classmate


by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News and staff

Posted on May 19, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Updated Monday, May 19 at 6:08 PM

HOUSTON – Beneath their concrete cross St. Thomas High School students carried flowers, mementos shown on Instagram, photos posted on Twitter, all laid at senior Dennis Duffy’s locker.

“It’s really hard to talk about it,” Stephanie Bradford, a STHS parent, said.

“It’s a sad thing. Just hug your kid,” Sherry Cruz, another STHS parent, said.

Duffy, 19, crashed this 2007 BMW Sunday morning. Investigators with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said he veered off the road and then hit a concrete culvert.

He was not wearing a seat belt.

“My son is a senior also. They were in the same pre-Cal class,” Bradford said.

Bradford’s son started finals Monday and will graduate Saturday. In between, he and classmates will bury a friend and they’re struggling to focus.

“It’s really hard to talk about it. This being final exams and you’re trying to keep them focused and everything,” Bradford said. “But it was really hard for him. I hope he prepared for his exam this morning. But it was really hard for him, because he thought about it all morning.”

To help, administrators offered to postpone testing a few days for the distraught. They also tailored morning prayer for Duffy’s friends and family.

“That’s what we’re here for. That’s part of their mission: to make sure the kids understand what’s going on,” Cruz said. “I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing to do.”

It’s a demonstration of faith school officials say this teen shared, and it’s faith and friendship pulling loved ones through.