At 18, Samantha Sterenchock, of 11 Griswold Court, Waterford, should have had her whole life ahead of her. Sadly, on the morning of October 20, her life was cut tragically short.
Sterenchock was driving alone headed south on Route 11 when her Volkswagon Jetta veered off the road near exit 5 and slammed into a tree close to the Colchester/Salem town line. Police and rescue workers arrived at the accident at about 8:30 a.m. and pronounced her dead at the scene.
News of her death came as a shock to her family and friends, and a number of them went on Sterenchock’s Facebook page to share their grief, turning her wall into an impromptu memorial.
“The world lost an angel today,” Colleen Campbell posted. “I told this beautiful girl all the time how I knew she would change the world. Waterford will not be the same without her bubbly personality and ability to make anyone smile.”
Sterenchock’s own smile was very much in evidence in the hundreds of pictures she posted on Facebook, as were her eclectic tastes. Her favorite movies ranged from Rocky Horror Picture Show to Pocahontas and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her favorite books included Carl Hiaasen’s humorous middle-school thriller, Hoot, and the gothic horror of Edgar Allen Poe.
William Shakespeare was high on her list of likes, too, but that may be less surprising because Sterenchock was active in the drama club. She appeared in numerous WATERFORDrama productions and, in her senior year, won an award for being the most improved female actor.
She was a good student, too, graduating with honors as part of the class of 2011. That would have been enough to keep anyone busy but Sterenchock was also an active volunteer and, for the past two years, she had worked at the Dinosaur Place in Oakdale.
"She volunteered at the Lutheran Church, she volunteered at daycare, friends and family, she was good to every single person around her," Sterenchock’s boss, Dinosaur Place CEO Linda Phillips said in an interview with WTNH Channel 8. "The entire staff sat down crying, most are still crying. There isn't a staff member who didn't admire and love her."
Sterenchock was excited about attending classes at UConn’s Avery Point and had anticipated being part of UConn's 2015 graduating class. Many of her friends are struggling to come to grips with the fact that she won’t be now.
“All I keep saying is I just don't understand... I don't understand. The world was too toxic for this Angel, Sam Sterenchock, and God needed you. I really don't know what to make of all this,” her friend Sabrina Pezzello posted. “Our time is short. Love the people you have in your life, don't take anyone for granted or shun them from you. There may not be a tomorrow.”