The Kelowna community rallied together following the tragic loss of three students who were set to graduate from high school this year, raising more than $83,000 for the affected families.
Three École Kelowna Senior Secondary (KSS) Grade 12 students were killed in a single-vehicle crash on May 26, along Gordon Drive near Cook Road.
The deaths of the students sent ripples through classrooms and homes across the city, as many faced the reality of another tragedy following a year-and-a-half of a global pandemic.
In order to support the families who lost their children, the KSS Parent Advisory Council (PAC) started a GoFundMe campaign, which saw hundreds of donations pour in just over a month.
“The school and our entire community as a whole is deeply saddened by these events. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to all of the individuals who have been impacted by this heartbreaking tragedy,” wrote the KSS PAC. “We stand in solidarity with you in our collective grief. Funds raised will be divided equally among the three families impacted to be used at their own discretion.”
A second fundraiser was also launched to support the family of Samara Haverko.
Harverko was one of the three students killed in the crash.
“Samara was an exceptionally kind, smart, funny, selfless and responsible young lady. She graduated a year early with honours and had plans to become a marine biologist,” said fundraiser organizer and family friend Terra Le Claire.
Le Claire made note of how close Haverko was to all of her family members and how much she valued the time spent with them.
She is survived by her father Mike, mother Dawn, stepmother Leah, sister Paige, brother Hunter, grandfather Richard and grandmother Renee.
That fundraiser brought in more than $19,000 to assist the family with Haverko’s funeral and other expenses.