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When tragedy strikes

By Staff | Jun 1, 2010

Jordan Rochefort

A 16-year-old Elmore boy drowned in a Fairmont lake, the Martin County Sheriff’s office reported.

Jordan Rochefort was swimming with friends in Sisseton Lake last Monday evening when he was unable to make it back to shore, according to the sheriff’s report. A 911 call came in at 8 p.m.

After having been underwater in the lake for an hour, Rochefort was brought to shore and taken to Fairmont Medical Center, then airlifted by Mayo One to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. He was pronounced dead at 1 a.m. on Tuesday.

Rochefort, the son of Angela (Rochefort) Lange, Sherburn, has been living for several years with his great-aunt and uncle, Norman and Cheryl Kolve, Elmore.

He was a sophomore at Blue Earth Area High School.

“I got a call from his aunt late Monday night,” BEA High School Principal Jack Eustice says. “She was on her way to Rochester. She called back at 8:15 this morning (Tuesday) to tell me Jordan had passed away.”

Eustice immediately called a staff meeting, to inform the teachers what had happened.

“This gave the teachers just seven minutes to hear the news and make plans to inform students,” Eustice says. “But, we have a contingency plan in place for emergencies, and they followed it.”

That plan calls for having counselors, social workers and clergy help students if they need it.

“There were members of the area clergy here within 20 minutes,” Eustice says.

He says it was obviously a tough day at the school.

“It is very hard to lose a student this way; hard on the staff, the students, and especially on the student’s close friends,” Eustice says.

After the teachers inform the BEA student body of the tragedy, they ask if anyone wants to further discuss it.

“Some kids know it is a really bad situation, but they deal with it,” Eustice says. “But others need to process it, and accommodate their thoughts and feelings.”

The BEA principal says the staff is very good at dealing with the students’ different levels of grief. Students are allowed to leave class to go talk with counselors and clergy, if they wish.

“This has hit us hard,” Eustice says. “Jordan was a good kid. He wasn’t into many school extracurricular activities, but he loved biking and skateboarding. And, he was very good at it.”

“His aunt and uncle are very nice people, and Jordan was a really nice kid,” Eustice says. “It is tragic something like this has to happen, and all of us have his family in our thoughts and prayers.”