Salem library area dedicated in memory of Cassandra and Samantha
SALEM — The new reading nook dedicated Wednesday in the high school library is a fitting tribute to former graduates Cassandra and Samantha Ray.
“They were both really big readers,” said Robin Smith, the girls’ mother.
Cassandra, a 2006 graduate, died in a canoeing accident in 2010. Samantha, who graduated in 2005, died unexpectedly in 2011.
Her daughters loved school and the time they spent with friends at Salem High School. They developed a large circle of friends from all walks of life, Smith said.
“Everybody knew them. Everybody loved them,” Smith said.
Cassie loved volleyball and music. She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston after graduation. Samantha was a cheerleader who went on to attend the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston.
The family held fundraisers, donating to Dollars for Scholars and providing $8,000 to create the reading nook. Music written by Cassie graces one wall. Photos taken by Samantha in Italy adorn another. Both of their pictures share a single picture frame. The light-filled room is decorated in their favorite colors with comfortable chairs and coffee tables.
“The friendliness of it speaks about the girls,” said Superintendent Michael Delahanty. “It represents them so well.”
Delahanty knew both girls from his time as principal of the middle and high schools.
“I don’t know if there was anybody who didn’t know them,” Delahanty said.
The girls were accepting of everybody and enthusiastic about all their activities, Delahanty said. He plans to hold some future events in the reading nook.
“It’s so very nice of the family to make this gesture, and participating in the planning of the nook made it personal,” Delahanty said.
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