Arrowhead High School senior dies on family vacation in Colorado

HARTLAND — Arrowhead High School senior Patrick Sievert passed away after an apparent skiing accident while on a family vacation in Colorado. This comes less than two weeks after another 17-year-old Arrowhead High School student died from a heart problem.

FOX6′s sister station in Colorado reports that Sievert died Thursday morning at a resort called Copper Mountain, where he veered off the ski trail and hit a shed. Sievert apparently died from skull fractures.

Arrowhead Superintendent Craig Jefson says students and staff were notified of Sievert’s death Thursday afternoon.Sievert’s death comes on the heels of the death of J.T. Hilligoss, a popular student-athlete who died in his sleep from a heart problem.

Sievert was a member of Arrowhead’s dive team and soccer team. “It was a big shock, and it’s going to be really hard to get over it, because last week being J.T. and this week being Patrick. It’s just a big emptiness that the whole school feels,” Arrowhead student Rycki Ebert said.

Jefson says the school’s crisis team and psychologists are on hand for students to speak with and will also be available Friday. Officials say many students left school early Thursday, while others stayed late to meet with grief counselors.

School officials say a letter was sent home to parents, saying: “It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the death of one of our 12th grade students. Patrick Sievert died in a skiing accident while on vacation with his family.”

Jefson says the loss is hitting hard. “It’s just real difficult right now, and we’re trying to get through it, but there’s no real good way to deal with this kind of loss. It’s pretty hard to walk down the hallway and see somebody with a lot of tears or emotion, or your teacher who’s struggling with that, and it has a ripple effect throughout the whole organization. We’re going to be hurting here for a long time,” Jefson said.

Parents say their hearts go out to both families, and say their kids will come together. “I think the kids are getting a lesson that you hope they didn’t have to learn this young about not taking each other for granted,” Pam Grant said.

Parent/teacher conferences were scheduled for Thursday night but they were cancelled so teachers could be available to students. Friday is not a regular school day at Arrowhead, but grief counselors will be on hand for students who want to come in.