At Chariho, a grieving campus prepares for tonight’s candlelight vigil to remember Maddie Potts

At Chariho, a grieving campus prepares for tonight’s candlelight vigil to remember Maddie Potts

The Westerly Sun

WOOD RIVER JCT. — The Chariho campus was unusually quiet Monday morning as students and staff tried to come to grips with the sudden death of 17-year-old girls’ soccer team captain Maddie Potts.

Flags on the campus had been lowered to half-staff, and groups of students, many dressed in blue — Maddie’s favorite color — to honor their friend and classmate, sat under trees or near the small memorial that appeared on the football field where Potts collapsed Saturday during a soccer game.

Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci said many students were taking advantage of the crisis counseling offered at the high school and at the middle school, where Potts’ father, Dan, teaches science. He noted that he had also seen many students doing what they could to support each other.

“In terms of the services we put in place, they appear to be meeting the needs of the kids,” he said. “We’ve had offers of support from across the state, but the kids are their own best therapy.”

On the football field, staff and administrators were preparing for tonight’s candlelight vigil for Potts, which will begin at 7 p.m. The planning of the vigil, by a team that includes three Chariho students, began first thing this morning.

The evening will begin with music, some of the soccer team’s favorite selections. There will also be a slide show of images of Potts, projected on a large screen. The public is invited to attend the vigil. Participants are asked to arrive at 6:30 and bring their own candles. Soccer teams from other school districts, including Middletown, the team Chariho was playing on Saturday, will also attend.

Ricci said the district is holding the vigil for several reasons.

“One is to honor her. One is to allow the community to grieve together, and another is to heal,” he said.

Special arrangements have also been made to accommodate a late-afternoon junior varsity football game. The game will still take place on the football field, but the players will only use half the field and stay off the section where Potts collapsed.



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