'We miss you:' Memorial tables at Calgary schools for bobsled run victims
CALGARY — A table with photos of twin brothers who died in an after-hours joyride down a Calgary bobsled run was set up Monday at the school where both spent several years of their lives.
A handwritten note with the words "We miss you", followed by the drawing of a heart, was propped up in front of the smiling pictures of Jordan and Evan Caldwell at Westmount Charter School in northwest Calgary. The building is not far from Canada Olympic Park where they both died early Saturday morning.
The two students, both 17, were part of a larger group that police say snuck onto the grounds of the WinSport facility, jumped onto their own toboggans and headed down the icy track where Olympic and World Cup events have taken place.
They hit a gate set up to divide the bobsled and luge runs and died almost instantly. Six other young men were also taken to hospital after a 911 call from a staff member.
Westmount Superintendent Joe Frank told reporters he knew both of the boys who started at the charter school in Grade 5. He said Evan switched to Ernest Manning High School because of a pre-engineering program for Grades 11 and 12, but Jordan remained at Westmount.
"He was our students' council president, a very active, very popular student right from Grade 5 to 12. The little guys called him their rock star," Frank said.
A dozen grief counsellors are working with students at the two schools. Frank said it's important to let the students discuss their feelings and staff members have been giving them the facts of what happened.
"We try to stay strictly to factual information. We don't want to get into the rumour-mongering and one of the comments we often make to them is things that they don't know lend themselves to kind of negative assumptions," he said.
Both Frank and Calvin Davies, District 4 director for the Calgary Board of Education, were wearing intertwined blue ribbons in honour of the two boys. Blue is the colour of both schools and Davies said there is a sense of community with those sharing the loss.
"We know there is certainly tremendous strength and comfort that comes from a sense of community and having opportunities for students to meet in small groups for staff to meet together, for us to be able to provide individual opportunities for counselling," Davies said.
All notes and tributes from students at the schools will eventually be given to the Caldwell family.
Two small memorials remain at Canada Olympic Park near the bobsled run. Bunches of flowers, a teddy bear and a dark blue Ernest Manning High School debate team sweatshirt were placed carefully on the ground.
Calgary police say the investigation is continuing.
In a news release, police say several of the teens remain hospitalized and unable to speak with police and it may be several days before additional information is available.