Kyrie Henry was a sweet, huggable 4-year-old who loved his Greendale Elementary School class.
He liked the Power Rangers and cartoons, his mother, Lisa Henry, said. “I’m at a loss for words.”
Sadly, the boy enjoyed riding his school bus, too, his mother said. Kyrie lost his life on Wednesday morning when the school bus in which he was riding crashed into a tractor-trailer on Beech Island Avenue.
The New Ellenton community has reached out to Lisa, her husband, Darren, and the school. Maria Martinez, a Greendale parent, said her son and a neighbor arrived home on Wednesday and, soon, they were collecting their own savings to assist the family.
“It’s very emotional,” Martinez said. “I’m so proud of my son. He just wanted to help.”
Throughout the day on Wednesday and again on Thursday, Principal Sonya Colvin has joined faculty members and School District administrators to help maintain a sense of ‘normalcy” for Greendale’s 400 students.
“It’s the end of school, and we want to keep things on schedule,” Colvin said Thursday morning. “With all the support, we’ve been able to do that.”
She visited the Henry family on Wednesday, joined by Julie Revelle, the Redcliffe Elementary School principal, and Gina Bassford, the School District’s guidance and counseling coordinator.
“We met with the family and expressed our sympathy, letting them know we are here for them,” Colvin said.
She and Bassford also went to Georgia Regents Medical Center to meet with the parents of another child injured in the accident.
The school notified parents through a robo-call to let them know about the accident and to help alleviate concerns. Throughout Thursday, efforts were ongoing to support the children. Bassford and two other counselors joined Greendale counselor Debbie McDermott. Colvin and her staff did not tell the students about the accident on Wednesday.
“What we’re doing is addressing the needs of the students and the adults,” said Bassford. “The parents are upset, too. It’s a tragedy, and there’s no book to handle it. (Colvin) knows the faculty and the parents, and can do whatever is necessary.”
Parents and other New Ellenton residents have called and come by the school, asking what they can do – a process Greendale is exploring to make such an effort run productively.
Principals from nearly all District schools – as well as those in other counties – have contacted the school offering to help.
“We do have additional counselors on standby,” Bassford said. “They are ready to come at a moment’s notice.”
For Amy Gregory, Chukker Creek Elementary School principal, the accident also impacted her and her school. One of her students was a passenger on the bus, but was not injured.
“I believe we have a connection with Greendale,” Gregory said. “All of us feel a loss, and it could have been any one of us. It’s personal when you lose a child. As educators, we love them as our own. My heart goes out to the school.”