Students filled with sadness find joy through the holiday spirit

Cory
Cory Hurley
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Michael McWhirter, a member of the Corner Brook Regional High House Band, performs during the Corner Brook Regional High and Friends Christmas Coffee House event Wednesday at the school.

CORNER BROOK  Outside Corner Brook Regional High Wednesday the snow was falling through the brisk evening air, but inside was filled with warmth.

Students and teachers say the halls of the school have been abnormally cold since September. That could be attributed to a string of tragedies — two teenagers from the school killed in separate car accidents, and a third young man, a former student, lies unconscious in hospital in St. John’s following an all-terrain vehicle accident.

Not all of the students directly knew Tim Tarbett, the teenager who was killed in a September car crash, or Alex McCarthy, a 15-year-old who died in another single-vehicle accident near Deer Lake just last month.

However, they are all friends of friends or knew of them.

Nov. 14, Marcel Janes was pinned under an all-terrain vehicle near George’s Lake. The youth’s skull was crushed and there was damage to the left side of his brain. He has been through surgery to remove a piece of his skull to alleviate the pressure on his brain and the bleeding has since stopped.

Although he is no longer on life support or the sedative medicines that come with it, he was still unconscious as of last week.

The students at Corner Brook Regional High have had near constant reminders of the harsh realities of life this year, and perhaps weren’t able to enjoy simply being kids as much as they should.

Recognizing that, students held a Christmas Coffee House at the school Wednesday evening. A portion of the proceeds collected from donations will go to assist the Janes family, but the event was also meant to help raise the spirits of the students this holiday season.

Mike McWhirter, a member of the Corner Brook Regional High House Band which was instrumental in putting the event together, said it was a great opportunity to help a family in need.

“Not all of us had a chance to meet Marcel, but he has so many friends that are so connected to him that it really plays a toll on everybody in the community and in the school,” he said.

As the house band gathered in the school’s library preparing for its performance, Erika Penney said the student body and teachers have come together surrounding the tragedies. Still, she said there was something extra needed to lift them up.

“We hope every one can put aside how upset they are, for now, and just try and enjoy themselves for a bit,” she said.

The pain of such tragedies has also resurrected the feelings of loss that many of the young adults have experienced throughout their own lives. It has also multiplied the hurt some are going through with illness or turmoil in their own families.

Genna Noseworthy says there is no better way to raise people’s spirits than through music. The singer shared the stage alongside the house band and listened to the sweet holiday music by the school choir and other solo or duet performances.

“I just find music has the ability to change your mood, no matter how you are feeling,” she said. “The holidays should be a happy time, but with all the tragedies it is hard. This is a way to put people in the Christmas mood, and the mood they should be in around the holidays.”

Organizations: Christmas Coffee House, Corner Brook Regional High House Band

Geographic location: Deer Lake, Corner Brook

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