If you walked down the halls of Mount View High School during the first few weeks of November last year, you would have noticed that even the air felt heavy.

On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2021, the community lost two Mount View High School students. Hazel Fuller, a senior, was killed in a single-person car crash. Julie Clark, a 2020 graduate, died from her injuries when she was a passenger in a vehicle that hit a tree.

These two girls were beautiful, kind people. Clark was recently engaged, and Fuller was in the throes of her senior year, working on college applications.

Both of these lives were cut horrifically short. The first few days were the worst, with teachers hesitating to assign work and most ensuring that students, especially upperclassmen who were close to the two, were supported.

One teacher, Carrie Hanagriff, had Fuller in her College Writing class. In order to both suspend classwork temporarily and give her students an activity to get their minds off the tragedies, she found a 1,500-piece jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle was simple, a pink background with 48 decorated doughnuts. But for Mount View students, it was a metaphor for the support they were giving and receiving.

Dozens of students went in and out of Mrs. Hanagriff’s room every day, working on the puzzle, supporting one another with hugs and kindness, and keeping each other company. Almost 300 individuals came to Fuller’s funeral Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Searsmont: a mix of friends, teachers and family. Clark’s funeral was held Monday, Nov. 8 in Portland, with an outpouring of individuals to fondly remember her.

GoFundMe fundraisers were started for the families of each of the girls to cover funeral expenses and help ease the difficulty of the time. They raised thousands of dollars for the families.

Mount View High School Principal Zackary Freeman discussed how he remembered each student. He said that Fuller “often came to the main office, not in trouble, but to speak with our secretaries about anything and everything. She was a kindhearted person who always wanted the best for everyone.”

Freeman also said he knew Clark very well. “Out of every student that ever attended MVHS since I have been here, I got to know Julie one of the most. Julie was a dynamic young lady that cared about others more than herself.”

As a Mount View student myself, and a senior at that, I can say with certainty that these tragedies shaped my final year in multiple ways. The guilt and grief I felt in the first few days are feelings I still carry with me, and losing a classmate is a circumstance I hope no others have to face.

I feel my heart break a little more when I think about the fact that we’ll only carry Hazel’s picture in the senior parade, or knowing I won’t get to talk to Julie again. I do find some solace in the fact that I am not alone, though, and we all miss the love and light these beautiful girls brought to the world.

As a response to the tragedies, grief counseling was made available to students. The Mount View High School 2022 yearbook will be dedicated to Hazel Fuller.

Cali Warren is an intern for The Republican Journal and a senior at Mount View High School.

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