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Archive for Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bench honors young fire victims

May 17, 2007

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New York Elementary honors 2 former students lost in tragedy

Students at New York Elementary celebrate the memory of 2 former students who lost their lives in a tragic incident last Fall. Enlarge video

Friendship was the theme during a bench dedication Wednesday afternoon at New York School.

The bench memorialized DaVonte Brockman and Nolan Vender, two students who died last September in an East Lawrence house fire.

"I think we have a nice memorial here in which we can remember these kids for many years to come," said Nancy DeGarmo, New York principal.

Jack Landgrebe, of the Kansas State University Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners volunteers, said students at the school collected money and the master gardener volunteers matched the money to pay for the bench. Penny's Concrete donated the cement and labor to install it.

"It wasn't hard to encourage the students (to raise the money), because they have been involved in the planning since the beginning," said Donna Black, of the master gardeners program.

Landgrebe said DaVonte and Nolan were a part of an after-school program put on by the master gardeners to teach children about horticulture.

The children's grandmother, Learlean Glover, was on hand for the dedication, and said she was grateful to all those who helped.

"I am truly thankful to the master gardeners and the friends of the kids," Glover said. "They have been great to me."

Glover was injured in the fire, which swept through her home at 1205 N.J. on Sept. 17 and killed DaVonte, Nolan and two of her other grandchildren. Glover's husband, Charles, also perished in the blaze.

A second bench will be placed at New York School, where DaVonte was a sixth-grader, and one will be installed at Central Junior High, where Nolan was a seventh-grader.

- Intern Sarah Van Dalsem can be reached at 832-7222.

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