‘We’re too good at grieving’: 3rd Cathedral student dies in a year

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Cathedral High School principal Julie Barthel said unfortunately, mourning the loss of a student is a process the school is becoming too familiar with.

“We’re too good at this, we’re too good at grieving and coming together because we’ve had to do it so much,” said Barthel.

Barthel said junior Lendon Byram’s death on his way to prom with his girlfriend over the weekend added to a significant amount of pain students and staff were already dealing with. Byram and his girlfriend, senior Kalen Hart from Hamilton Heights, died Saturday in a crash on the way to the Hamilton Heights prom.

At the end of last year, Cathedral junior Jonathon Knoll died in a car crash and just a few months before, one of his classmates, Da’Mario McCullough, was killed in a shooting.

“This brings up those other two deaths again for everybody, for those families, for those parents, for those best friends, for those teachers,” said Barthel.

To help, Barthel said the school has brought in some extra resources, including social workers and counselors. But she believes part of the healing process just takes patience.

“We’ve said all along we’re going to give grace. We’re going to give grace to our students if they feel like they can’t be in class that day, they go sit with their counselor, stay at home, go sit in the chapel, go do that,” said Barthel.

With a student population of just over 1,000 at the school, students cross paths more frequently. That became even more clear to her at a prayer service over the weekend when students from all different groups spoke about Byram.

“Just to see those students there sharing stories — just how funny he was, he was so intelligent, just qualified for the national speech and debate tournament. So, he just had so much potential and he made an impact on the world already. He’ll always be a part of Cathedral, all of those three students will, we will never forget them,” said Barthel.

Cathedral is holding an all-school mass on Wednesday to honor Byram. Barthel said several other Catholic schools have also reached out and have even sent their counselors to help as well.