It’s a terrible truism that the worst of times often brings out the best in people.
That has been evident here in the Capital District over the past few days, as the Shenendehowa school community roils in the wake of a tragedy that took two young lives.
Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers have appeared in our sports pages in the past. And it has become plain in recent days as their personalities are recounted, they were much more than student athletes to friends and family.
This was plainly evident in Tuesday’s vigil held at the Brent T. Steurwald Stadium at the Shenendehowa campus in Clifton Park. Thousands turned out to pay respects to these two teens and show support for Matthew Hardy and Shaker student Bailey Wind, who are still recovering. And they didn’t just turn out from within the school district — it was clear people who were touched by the tragedy came from miles around.
As reporter Marci Revette writes, if this is not the epitome of community, then we don’t know what is.
This fitting remembrance was the apex of what was several days of grappling with the gravity of the situation from all corners. In today’s day and age, this has become a more public and far-reaching process than it ever might have been; within hours of the tragedy, Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with not only the tragic news, but calls for prayers and support. Memorial pages have since been established on Facebook and the hashtag #shenstrong was swept up by alumni nationwide.
This led to an entreaty to NFL quarterback Tim Tebow to place a call to Hardy, and the star QB reached out to him on Monday evening. This has seemingly expanded into calls for support from other celebrities, including a campaign on Facebook to get Ellen Degeneres to voice her support for the Shen community.