Henrico school leaders are helping students mourn the loss of a middle school student in Short Pump. Alexandra Babaeva fell from a cliff along the Blue Ridge Parkway Sunday. Tuesday, 10 grief counselors were on hand at the teenager's school.
Her warm smile was just as infectious as the vibrant personality students remember.
"A lot of people have been drawing bubbles on their wrists because her nickname is bubbles," said student David Christopher Hellams.
The 13-year-old died Sunday after falling from a cliff near Humpback Rocks in Augusta County. The incident set a somber tone at Pochantas Middle.
"A lot of people have definitely been sad and a little down today," Hellams said.
That's why Joshua Lutz with Henrico Schools showed up.
"Acknowledge their feelings. They're hurting on different levels. Some are angry. They all want to know why this happens and we can't answer that. It's ok to say we don't know or we don't have an answer for that," the school psychology supervisor said.
Lutz brought a team of 10 school counselors, social workers, and psychologists to help ease the pain.
In situations like this, it's not just the students who are grieving.
"We're here for staff. Because we have to remember teachers have connections to students as well and when tragedy strikes, it affects everybody," he said.
Those mourning Babaeva's death are making their rounds on social media, expressing their grief on several websites.
Parents and students at Pocahontas are now praying for the teenager's family.
"Appreciate everyday that you have. Love your family. Love your friends. Do all you can do and understand life is precious," Hellam's father said when picking him up from school.
Officials at the Blue Ridge Parkway say they are reviewing what happened to determine if any changes are needed when it comes to safety.
Counselors will be available all week long to help students and teachers as they continue to mourn the loss. The teenager's family is asking for privacy.
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