Messalonskee Strong

This week, students left messages for Messalonskee High on a poster in Pulver.

This week, students left messages for Messalonskee High on a poster in Pulver.

Within the past three weeks, the Messalonskee High School community has adopted the “Messalonskee Strong” slogan as family, friends and classmates cope with the recent loss of two students.

17-year-old Nora Birch took her own life on Sept. 30. According to her obituary in the Morning Sentinel, Birch was an avid singer and pianist and was involved in many groups at school. Birch grew up in Belgrade, Maine and identified as a born-again Christian. Next fall, she was planning to attend either Colby, Bowdoin College or the University of Maine at Farmington with aspirations to become an editor.

Two weeks later, on Sat. Oct. 11, 17-year-old Cassidy Charette was killed in a hayride accident that injured 22 other passengers, including her boyfriend, Connor Garland. Charette grew up in Oakland, Maine, where she was a student athlete and an active volunteer in numerous community service activities. On Tuesday Oct. 14 there was a vigil for Charette at the Mount Merici School in Waterville, where Charette previously attended.