Westlake mourning loss of two seniors, to host vigil this evening
The Westlake High School community is reeling from the deaths of two students last week, the third and fourth fatalities to hit the school’s senior class this school year, and is planning a vigil to help students, staff and community members deal with the tragedies.
“It’s been very somber,” Principal Michael Meiser said Mon- day, the first day of school after the news hit. “The hallways seem to be a lot quieter, the students seem to be much more reserved.”
Friday at 12:25 p.m., a car driven by Colin Bipat, 17, and occupied by passengers Desmond Cooke, 17, and Caleb Marshall, 18, all of
Waldorf, struck a traffic light pole at the intersec- tion of Smallwood Drive West and St. Nicholas Drive in Waldorf, killing Bipat and Cooke.
According to witnesses at the scene, their car, traveling at a high rate of speed, swerved to avoid traffic stopped at the light and struck the pole.
Marshall was flown to a hospital in critical condi- tion, but has since been downgraded to serious condition.
Marshall, who had already completed his degree requirements at Westlake, is attending the College of Southern Maryland full time through Westlake’s col- lege waiver program, according to school officials.
Both Bipat and Cooke were attending Westlake on a half-day schedule while working in the community as part of the school’s Career Research and Development program.
“Both were good students, happy and wellliked, with a close circle of friends,” Meiser said.
Meiser said that members of the school system’s crisis team, including grief counselors, were on hand to help students process the tragedy.
“Quite a few of our students were counseled and consoled and supplied with the appropriate tools to deal with what happened,” Meiser said.
A vigil is planned for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the school’s sports stadium for students, staff, parents and members of the community in memory of the students killed Friday and two other students, Reuel Hicks, 18, and Caleb Horne, who also died this school year. Hicks was shot and killed outside the St. Charles Towne Center movie theater in October. A Baltimore man is facing murder charges in the incident.