The last time people came to Fairport High School they wanted to lean together, cry together and grieve together. But on Wednesday, Aug. 1 there was no shortage of words, smiles and memories shared of the five recent graduates who died in a tragic car accident June 26.
The last time people came to Fairport High School they wanted to lean together, cry together and grieve together.
But on Wednesday, Aug. 1 there was no shortage of words, smiles and memories shared of the five recent graduates - Hannah Congdon, Bailey Goodman, Katie Shirley, Sara Monnat and Meredith McClure – who died in a tragic car accident June 26.
Fairport High School held a Celebration of Lives to remember and honor the girls on the school’s football field. Hundreds came wearing their red Raiders T-shirts to show their school spirit.
“I hope this is a way we can begin to heal,” Principal Dave Paddock said at the ceremony. “I believe our angels would of wanted that for our community.”
Paddock said the ceremony was intended to laugh through the tears and to remember the good times.
The girls, now known as "Fairport Angels" died after their SUV collided head-on with a tractor-trailer in East Bloomfield, five days after they graduated high school.
The nearly two-hour program included two unexpected guests – pop singer Teddy Gieger, a Pittsford native, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
Geiger performed his hit song, “For You I Will,” and Spitzer offered words of sympathy.
“I want you to know all New Yorkers are with you,” he said. “People of New York feel we are all Fairport Raiders, and we have prayed, cried and shared sadness of your grief.”
Other musical performances included Bill Tiberio and Friends and the Student and Alumni Choir. Fairport students Taylor DesRosiers and Colin Lyness also wrote and performed a song, “The Lives of Five Angles” for the memorial service.
The victim’s families were involved with the planning. Family members and friends spoke about the girls during the celebration as a tribute.
Friends remembered Hannah Congdon for her free spirit, kind smile and zest to travel.
“We joke she was born smiling and she never stopped,” said Hannah's dad, Terry Congdon.
Bailey Goodman was remembered for her outgoing and humorous personality.
Friends said she loved being the center of attention and could turn a bad day upside down.
Meredith McClure was remembered for her zany ideas and strong personality.
Sara Monnat was known as the stylish one out of the group. She also was nicknamed "bossy" and was the one friends turned to for advice, friends said.
Katie Shirley was remembered for her scrapbooking hobby and gift of giving.
All of the girls families thanked the community for their support during the past two months.
“We are trying to look at the good in this,” Meredith’s mom, Diane McClure, said.
“We really want students to move on with the rest of their lives and for the recent graduating class to do well in college. That’s what the five angels would have really wanted from you.”
Peter Koenig, a 2007 Fairport High School graduate, said the ceremony helped.
“It made us laugh,” he said. “It definitely was a big help.”