LINWOOD — Students joined with family members Tuesday at Mainland Regional High School to unveil a memorial — along with an additional, unexpected memorial from Northfield sixth-graders — honoring the four football players who died in a car crash last summer.
A stone bench and plaque situated at the entrance to the football field bears the names of Casey Brenner, of Northfield; Edgar Bozzi, of Somers Point; Dean Khoury, of Linwood; and Nicholas Conner, of Northfield, who died Aug. 20 in a crash on the Garden State Parkway. The memorial also features the green “M” symbol for Mustangs football.
The plaque, embedded in a rock, and adjacent bench were the concept of seniors Samantha Shiekman and Jennifer Eisenberg, both of Linwood.
“After what the community endured in the past year, the Class of 2012, as well as its closest friends, wanted to dedicate a memorial in honor of the four boys,” Shiekman said.
Since individual benches in their names already exist, Eisenberg said, “We decided it would be a nice idea to dedicate a single bench in their honor.”
Funds for the bench and plaque were raised in part through an anonymous donor, they said.
“It’s a magnificent tribute,” said Lynn Brenner, Casey Brenner’s mother. “The kids remember — and they want to remember — the boys on a daily basis. They’re memories they don’t want to lose, and now they’re memories they’ll see daily.”
“I think it’s beautiful,” said John Brenner, Casey’s father. “And it will be here forever as a reminder. I can’t thank the school and student body enough. We think it’s very fitting, for everything they’ve done since it began on Aug. 20, for memories we’ll never forget.”
Mainland Superintendent Tom Baruffi also presented a memorial quilt created by the sixth-grade class of Northfield Community School, which was donated to the school Monday.
Baruffi read from the plaque, written by several Northfield students, that accompanied the quilt. It stated that “each of the three (sixth-grade) classes voted on where the quilt should go ... and every period, by far, felt Mainland should be given the quilt. Every block is special because there’s no other like it, and every student put hard work and a lot of love into the quilt. We expect that one day, when we are at Mainland, we will see the quilt and look back at when we made it.”
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