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Following student death,
school staff offers support

Tracy Area High School students and staff are mourning the loss of one of their own.

Alexander “Alex” Wlodkowski, a junior at the school, died unexpectedly of unknown causes at his home in Amiret Friday evening.   School staff was notified of the 16-year-old’s death in a school district “Instant Alert” Sunday night. 

School faculty discussed Alex’s death at a gathering before school Monday morning.   First-hour teachers then read a brief statement to grades 7-12 students informing them of Alex’s death, and letting them know of the availability of counselors, and a “safe room” where close friends could get together and talk.

During the second and third hour of school Monday, members of the junior class were invited to discuss their feelings about Alex’s death in a large group meeting in the school’s physical education/wrestling practice room.

The process, explained Supt. Chad Anderson, was designed to allow students to grieve the loss of a fellow student, while being respectful to Alex’s memory and family.  Anderson said that he and other school staff members want students to know that the school community “is there for them” during this difficult time.

The Hamilton Funeral Home of Marshall is handling funeral arrangements.  As of Tuesday noon, no time had been announced for a memorial service.  Students have been told that they will be excused from school to attend the service, with a signed permission slip from a parent.

Parents were sent an “Instant Alert” Monday morning, that referred them to a letter from Principal Kathy Vondracek, informing them that a TAHS junior had died. The notification stated that links to “grief resources” were available on the Tracy Area Public Schools website.

A Sunday evening meeting of the Southwest Educational Service Co-operative’s crisis management team shaped the high school’s response to Alex’s death.   The team, which includes counselors and social workers from throughout the region, met with Tracy school leaders Sunday, and with TAHS staff early Monday. 

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Alex, the son of Janice Wlodkowski, was a member of the high school band and choir.  He’s been a District 2004 student since the third grade.

Anderson said that a special memory that he has of Alex, was the student’s practice of holding open doors for other students.


Veterans Day salute is Monday

A Veterans’ Day program is planned Monday, Nov. 7, 10:30 a.m., at Tracy Area High School.

Jim Reinert, Murray County Veterans’ Service officer, will be the keynote speaker.  The Tracy American Legion color guard will participate.

Three local American veterans will be honored: Lamoine Meyer, Dick Kelley, and Bernie Holm.

Other parts of the program will include:

• Presentations by 2016 Girls State participants Anna Johnston and Kendra Ludeman.

• “America the Beautiful” sung by the TAHS choir.

• “Star Spangled Banner” performed by TAHS band.

• Welcome by Mayor Steve Ferrazzano.

• Invocation & benediction by Legion Chaplain Dave Ziemke.

• Opening & closing remarks by Legion Commander Harley Wahl.


Chamber is sponsoring spooky parade

The Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce invites Halloween trick-or-treaters to the downtown for a Halloween parade Monday.

Children up to 12 years old can wear their Halloween costumes for the 5 p.m. parade. The procession begins at the Veterans Memorial Center, and will proceed along Morgan to Third Street.  The parade will go down Third St. to South, before returning and ending at the Tracy Multi-Purpose Center.  A hot-dog, chips, and beverage supper will be served until 6:30 p.m.  There is no charge, but donations will be accepted.

Kim Roggatz, the Chamber’s executive director, says that all area businesses, organizations, and churches are invited to give out Halloween candy along Third Street.

Free pictures of costumed children, courtesy of the Chamber, will be taken at the VMC prior to the parade, beginning at 4:30 p.m.  Greg Devereaux will be taking the photos.