The loss of two of its students has been heartbreaking for everyone at Sioux Falls Christian Schools, but officials are trying to make it as easy as possible for the rest of the student body.
Visitation for four members of the Vollmer family is Thursday, and the funerals are set for Friday at Sioux Falls Christian High School. Jim, Julie, Caleb and Alyssa Vollmer were killed in a car crash last weekend.
Superintendent Jay Woudstra says officials have spent most of the week in meetings, trying to arrange a fitting tribute to members of what he calls a family everyone would want to know. Counselors and pastors have been on site all week to help Caleb and Alyssa's friends cope with losing these two students. Woudstra says they won't soon be forgotten.
"It was an eerie feeling in our hallways on Monday. Probably one I've never experienced in a school," Woudstra said.
From memorials on an every day bulletin board to hundreds of supportive emails, Woudstra said everyone has come together.
"People who want to help. People that are praying for us, praying for our school community and praying for the Vollmer family," Woudstra said.
Woudstra easily summed up the four members of this family, as well as Brittany, the surviving daughter who was away at college during the crash, with just one sentence.
"They walk into a room and the room lights up," Woudstra said.
Caleb and Alyssa will not be forgotten anytime soon. Their names will be engraved in large stones in a memorial garden at Sioux Falls Christian, where they remember students they've lost. Through massive support and kind words from others, Woudstra said Sioux Falls Christian has not gone through this alone.
"You're a human being and the only way I can personally do that is through the grace of God. You can't go through these things without that. That's what we teach here. Now we're living it," Woudstra said.
Classes have been going on as scheduled, though students will be let out at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday. Classes are cancelled all day on Friday.
A fund is set up to help Brittany Vollmer with future education expenses. Checks make out to the Brittany Vollmer Fund can be sent to one of two addresses:
Brittany Vollmer Fund
C/O Northwestern College
101 7th Street SW
Orange City, IA 51041
Brittany Vollmer Fund
C/O Sioux Falls Christian Schools
6120 S Charger Circle
Sioux Falls, SD 57108