Superintendent of Schools
22 Main St.
West Newbury, MA 01985
For Immediate Release
Monday, September 29, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Pentucket Regional High School Recovering From Loss of Student
Ben Stevens admired as a polite, respectful student who most recently expressed his creativity in Pentucket High School’s video production class
Note to editors: The school district received permission from the Stevens family to refer to Ben by name.
WEST NEWBURY — News of the sudden, tragic loss of Pentucket Regional High School sophomore Ben Stevens came to school officials over the weekend.
“We reached out to the family on Sunday afternoon, lending support and our condolences,” Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen said
Principal Jonathan Seymour and Superintendent Mulqueen made a visit to the Stevens family on Sunday afternoon. “The Stevens family needs the unified support of our Pentucket community as they endure the heartbreak that comes with such a loss,” Seymour said.
Pentucket’s parents and staff received notification of Ben’s passing on Sunday afternoon around 4:40 p.m. “It was important for us to work closely with the Stevens family so that the release of information reflected the sensitivity and respect required for such circumstances,” Mulqueen said.
Principal Seymour met with the Pentucket Regional High School faculty this morning at 7 a.m.to provide guidance to staff so that they could successfully engage with students who need assistance during the day.
“While some may have questions that we cannot answer, it is important that we maintain a focus on reflection, support, and moving forward together as we contend with this tragic loss,” Seymour said.
Janice Hirschfeld, Pentucket Guidance Department Head, helped to prepare the staff to implement Good Grief, a well-established support process developed by Boston Medical Center. “Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time,” explained Hirschfeld. Some people recover from grief and resume normal activities quickly while others take longer. “Pentucket Regional High School’s culture of support will buoy students and staff through this difficult time,” said Seymour.
A statement was read to students as school began this morning:
As you may be aware already, our school community suffered a tragic loss this weekend with the passing of sophomore Ben Stevens. Ben was admired as a polite, respectful student who was active in and out of school using his creativity in video production. Ben will be missed by us all. While we all react differently to a loss like this, we want students to know that if you need to talk with someone there are teachers, counselors, and others available to support you. If you would like to talk with someone besides your classroom teacher, please ask your teacher to be excused to go to the guidance office, the public safety office near the café, or the library. Staff and counselors are in these locations and are available to assist.
“We are very fortunate to have a strong, supportive community here in Pentucket. I am confident that the community’s respect for the Stevens family and united support for our students and staff will be a great benefit,” said Christopher Wile, Chairman of the Pentucket Regional School Committee.
Pentucket Regional High School will be offering before-, during-, and after-school supports for staff and students. Parents, who may need assistance talking with their own child, are encouraged to contact Janice Hirschfeld at 978-363-5507, ext. 400.
The following arrangements were confirmed this morning:
Visiting hours: Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, from 6-8 p.m.
Rogers Funeral Home
2 Hillside Ave., Amesbury
Funeral (NOTE: Changed time and location): Saturday, Oct. 4 at 10 a.m.
Main Street Congregational Church
145 Main St., Amesbury