DERRY - Pinkerton Academy students affected by the death of a fellow student braved frigid conditions Saturday to attend grief counseling at the school.
Kyle Ross, 17, a junior, died Wednesday from injuries he suffered in a New Year's Eve car crash. His death sent the Pinkerton community into mourning.
The condition of another Pinkerton student who was a passenger in the car, Johanna Morse, 16, of Derry, improved from critical to serious at Tufts Medical Center in Boston on Saturday, a hospital spokesman said.
To help students cope with the tragedy, grief counselors were available Saturday at the high school's campus.
The turnout was light, but some students still showed up for the counseling, said Chip Underhill, executive director of public relations and external affairs.
Funeral services will be held next week for Ross, who is remembered as a determined athlete with strong ambition. Ross was a member of the school's freshman baseball team that captured a championship that year. Ross also worked part time and enjoyed outdoor activities such as snowmobiling, snowboarding, boating and riding ATVS. He also liked following sports, according to his obituary.(See his obituary, Page C12.)Ross was driving the car that went out of control and slammed into a tree at a high rate of speed at Gulf Road and Hampshire Drive late Tuesday night, according to police.
A third Pinkerton student, Thompson Upham-Davis, 16, of Chester, suffered injuries that were non-life-threatening, according to police.
The crash is under investigation by the Derry police crash team, Capt. Vern Thomas said.
Ross' death provoked an emotional response from his fellow students and the high school.
"The Pinkerton community is heartbroken," Headmaster Mary Anderson said Thursday. "We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Kyle Ross, and we offer our heartfelt prayers and thoughts for Johanna's recovery."
Students who knew the popular student posted numerous messages on Facebook and Twitter, with many also offering support for Morse.
Calling hours will be Wednesday at Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium in Derry. A private liturgy of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Derry.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Kyle's memory may be made to the Jimmy Fund at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445-7226.