A Devastating Week In A Sad School Year For Waterford

Following Two Deaths This Week, Five People Related To Waterford High School Have Died This School Year

Tragedy after tragedy after tragedy.

That’s how this year has gone for Waterford and its high school, with the last seven days being incredibly painful. Last Friday, Waterford High School student William “Billy” Adams, 16, , and then Thursday evening, an hour after calling hours for Adams, news broke that recent Waterford High School graduate and University of New Haven student Stirling Danskin, 20,

“We’ve had tragedies from time to time that affected Waterford High School,” Principal Don Macrino said. “But I can’t recall a year where I’ve had so many.”

In January, Waterford High School special education teacher Chris Johnson . And in October, recent Waterford High School graduate Samantha Sterenchock, 18, , and 2001 Waterford High School graduate Staff Sgt. Ari Cullers

“It just has been one bad thing after another,” Waterford High School band director Tim Fioravanti, who knew Danskin and Sterenchock well. “You ask why this is happening to kids. Parents should not be burying their children. It is just awful.”


Danskin, 20, was a sophomore at the University of New Haven who was majoring in music and sound recording. He graduated Waterford High School in 2010, and was active in the band, WATERFORDrama and the chorus.

“He was a fun-loving guy,” Fioravanti said. “He was that guy that would make the whole world brighten up. He would just make any situation a fun one to be in.”

Danskin had three siblings, according to Fioravanti. He was also an Eagle Scout, according to First Selectman Dan Steward.

“He was a very bright man, very outgoing,” Macrino said. “He will be missed.”

Sterenchock was also involved with drama, Fioravanti said. Drama and music kids form a tight group, and losing one is like losing a relative, he said.

“It is really like family,” Fioravanti said. “We are losing family. It is brutally hard on the kids.”

Linda Snyder, Sterenchock’s mother, on Thursday about the death of Danskin. Snyder said she would be there for her the Danskin family.

“Our condolences to the Danskin family,” she wrote. “You are in our thoughts and prayers. I'm sure Sam (Sterenchock) was there to greet Stirling (Danskin) at heaven's gates with a big hug! I am here if you need to talk.”

What Now

The school and the town are wrestling with five unexpected deaths, including three teenagers, since October, Steward said. It is not something Waterford is used to, he said.

“It’s been a horrible week,” he said. “It’s been awful. It is just so sad. This is not at all what we think should happen. We just have to go along and deal with it.”

School has not been in session since Thursday, the day before Adams died. Once the students come back from April break on Monday, there will be a moment of silence for Adams and Danskin, Macrino said.

There will also be a crisis team set up to help out any students who need help grieving, he said. But school will go on, he said.

“Our efforts will be to certainly pay respects to the two students, but try to carry on,” he said. “Teenagers tend to find a great deal of security in routine.”

The deaths have been terrible, but there is a message, Macrino said. The message is to live life, enjoy the moment and remember life is fragile, he said.

“Yesterday’s gone and you don’t have tomorrow; you have to make the best of the moment,” Macrino said. “But I guess that is for everything in life.”

Patricia April 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Really Mr. Macrino is that the message??? I would think the message is .....what is happening to our children. Why are they dying. What is it going to take until we as a society "get the message" and stand up and really do something about this tragic epidemic in our society? Until we as a society get real with the idea that we are losing our children, our sons and our daughters at alarming rates and DO something about this....then we really haven't gotten the message. I wonder how many of the crisis intervention team memeber that assit at the schools have ever lost a child? The old saying you don't have to experience something to help is correct but it sure goes a long long way if you have.
Scott April 15, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Patricia, People die every day, and death is a part of life. "Stand up and really do something," i am sorry but avoiding death is not part of the curriculum at WHS or any school for that matter. This isn't anything against those at WHS that have died, but its a scary world, people die unexpectedly all the time, and again, its something society has to deal with in life. Theres no need to "call out" these intervention team members. Its pretty rare for an adult to go through life without having to deal with a death of a relative, close friend, etc. and they know the sorrow of it. Though it does have to be very tough losing a child, i will agree. I don't know your relationship to any of these people that were lost from WHS, if any, but you're sounding like its the faults of the WHS staff/faculty that this is happening. I am extremely proud and lucky to have grown up and gone to school in Waterford, WHS is a great school and close community. If theres anything that i got out of graduating from WHS, it would be that high schoolers/teenagers all have that feeling of being "immortal" and fearless of the idea of death, and with that idea comes unexpected deaths. And again, that is something that "WE" as a society have to cope with. I apologize for "rant" but after reading this article, and then seeing your comment, it just rubbed me the wrong way. Mr. Macrino is a great guy and his message is right on par. "Live life, enjoy the moment and remember life is fragile."
Teresa Schlotman Wilensky April 15, 2012 at 06:29 PM
While live every moment may be a message to take away from this in the future, I personally think the message right now is more like; Hold on to each other, comfort each other, take care of each other. Now is a time of grief and our community can and will support all of us who are sad, and together we shall heal each other.
Paul May 29, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Well said, I dont understand where Patricia is coming from.. This is all very sad


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