The North Cobb High School community is mourning the death of one its students, 17-year-old Andre Cordero, who was killed in a car crash on Friday evening, according to the school’s principal and Cobb Police.
Police say the Acworth teen was turning left out of a private driveway at 1640 South Cobb Drive, less than half a mile north of Nickajack Creek, just after 9 p.m. on Friday night. As Cordero turned onto South Cobb Drive, he entered the path of a black, 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer traveling southbound, the police report states.
The Trailblazer struck the left side of the blue, 2007 Hyundai Tiburon Cordero was driving, killing him and injuring his passenger, 17-year-old James Rosales of Kennesaw. Rosales was transported to Kennestone Hospital with serious injuries.
The driver of the Trailblazer, 38-year-old Lisa James of Powder Springs, was transported to Kennestone Hospital with minor injuries.
The crash is still under investigation, according to Sgt. Wayne Delk, a spokesman for the Cobb County Police Department.
In a letter to parents, Principal Matt Moody said he chose to inform the school community after speaking with the eleventh-grader’s family.
“It was important for all the students to have the same information to avoid rumors, which start so quickly. The facts were provided for each teacher to read to their first period class,” Moody wrote.
In an emailed statement, Nan Kiel, a district spokeswoman, called the car wreck “tragic,” saying the district was saddened to learn of Cordero’s death. Kiel also confirmed that Rosales attends school in the Cobb County system.
“Our thoughts are with the families, and our staff will be available on campus to provide support to the North Cobb school community during this difficult time,” she said.
Cobb school board member Randy Scamihorn, who represents North Cobb High, said his heart goes out to the families affected by the crash.
“I can’t imagine that being my son,” Scamihorn said. “I’ve always considered our 114,000 students to be mine, to the best of my ability.”
Principal Moody said counselors and other district staff visited each classroom where students shared a class with Cordero, offering time to “talk and to share their feelings,” following his death.
Moody said students “who were most upset” were also provided the opportunity for individual or small group discussions.
“Ongoing support will be available through the counseling office for students who need time to adjust to this tragedy,” his letter states. “Even if your student did not know Andre, he/she may experience grief as it can remind them of other losses.”
Moody has asked parents to be on the lookout for signs of grief, including tearfulness, bad dreams, irritability, stomach or headaches, inability to concentrate, more pronounced fears of dying, the dark, losing a family member or walking home.
The principal’s letter also included ways to help a grieving student:
♦ Let your student talk about the death or draw pictures of what he/she felt happened.
♦ Let them express their feelings.
♦ Offer them loving, touching support.
♦ Allow them to be sad and to cry.
♦ Let your student ask questions and answer them as simply as you can. If you need to, it is okay to say, “I don’t know how to answer that. Perhaps we can find someone who can help us.”
♦ Reassure your student you are healthy, you are careful when you drive, and you will be around for a long time.
♦ Offer support and structure in completing school work.
Moody encouraged any parents with concerns about their student’s behavior, to call the North Cobb Counseling Office at 770-975-6685.