GEORGETOWN, Maine — In the wake of 26-year-old Georgetown Central School music teacher Elizabeth Polletto’s death in a car crash last Wednesday morning, Principal Matt Carlson said Thursday that the school is “taking it day by day.”
After learning of Polletto’s death Wednesday, Carlson said grief counselors from Alternative Organizational Structure 98 and Regional School Unit 1 came to Georgetown Central School, along with substitute teachers, to help Polletto’s colleagues through the morning.
Students in pre-kindergarten through second grades were sent home shortly after noon on Wednesday, Carlson said.
Police told The Associated Press that Polletto died after her car began to slide through slush Wednesday morning on Portland Road in Gray, spinning into the path of an oncoming Toyota Tundra pickup truck.
Polletto was pronounced dead after being transported to Maine Medical Center for her injuries.
“We contacted [students’] parents and told them what was happening,” Carlson said. “We thought it was best if parents told them what happened.”
Counselors and substitute teachers also were on site Thursday, Carlson said.
“People are doing what they can,” Carlson said.
The additional counselors were not scheduled to be on site Friday but would be on call for students and staff needing support.
Through it all, Carlson said, the students have provided comfort to staff and teachers mourning the loss of their colleague, who was nearing the conclusion of her third year teaching at the school.
“The students here are wonderful and they keep us focused,” Carlson said. “They continue to ask great questions and laugh and do thoughtful things, and we’re fortunate to have that.”
Carlson said the school has allowed its older students flexibility and time to process the tragic loss of a teacher he described as “full of energy and a lot of innovative ideas.”
“She was adored and loved by all of the students and staff,” Carlson said.
Polletto taught music to students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.
She also offered private music lessons to interested students as well.
Last Friday, one of Polletto’s long-term goals for her music students was realized with the purchase of hand-chimes for the music program.
“We were able to raise enough money last winter, and we finally purchased them and used them with the fifth and sixth grade students last Friday,” Carlson said. “[Polletto] was just thrilled to have those hand-chimes in, and they made some wonderful music.”
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