CLOVIS, California (KSEE) – Grief counselors comforted students in Clovis on Tuesday after a tragic crash killed two of their classmates.
17-year-old Jack Schwass and 16-year-old Thomas Brown died late Friday night after the car they were in crashed into a tree on Armstrong Avenue, south of Bullard Avenue.
While the schools had grief counselors to help students affected by this horrible tragedy, many of the students actually took time during their lunch to stop at the crash site and comfort one another.
Both Gateway and Clovis High School students were back on campus after a three-day weekend, but noticeably missing, two classmates.
“Jack is the most loyal friend that anyone could have,” says Marissa Mahan, 18, Schwass’ friend.
Clovis Unified says the death of both teens has been felt throughout the district.
“Having a large school system, we are hit by tragedies every once and a while and it’s just heartbreaking and really has a great impact on our students and on our staff members who knew them,” says Kelly Avants with the Clovis Unified School District.
“We have briefed all of our team on how to access and how to refer kids over if they need or have expressed a need or if a staff member notices a student struggling.”
But for many of the students, they found comfort off-campus during lunch, visiting the site where they lost their friends. Some writing messages on the brick wall, others just sitting in silence.
Mahan says she’s visited the site every day since the crash. Missing her friend Jack, she says he was always so positive.
“He was a good kid, had a bright future ahead of him, he wanted to be a counselor, it would be the perfect job for him because he knew how to deal with people’s emotions,” she said.
The crash is still under investigation. Police say a toxicology report will be coming out within the next few weeks.
We spoke with the Schwass’ family, they did not want to go on camera but told us that Jack’s dog, Bubblegum, was also in the car at the time of the crash and died as well.
The community is stepping up, the Schwass’ family says the regional manager for the Applebee’s on Shaw and Minnewawa Avenues has offered 25% of their proceeds from Monday (2/10), Tuesday (2/11), and Wednesday (2/12) to the families.
The family also says Applebee’s has also offered them meals during this time, as they plan funerals.
There are GoFundMe accounts for both boys to help with funeral expenses.