West­lake mourn­ing loss of two se­niors, to host vigil this evening

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

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.

Des­mond Cooke

Colin Bi­pat

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