GREENE, Maine — Students at Greene Central School, classmates of 6-year-old Nathan Capponi, remembered their friend Thursday with cards and drawings attached to a tree at the back corner of the school’s playground.
School officials said grief counselors were on hand as the community dealt with the child’s death.
“Nathan was a vivacious, vibrant boy who was always smiling,” Vice Principal Kim Spencer said in a written statement. “He had a knack for putting smiles on the faces of students and teachers. He was a curious young boy, full of questions and comments.”
State police said Nathan was killed at about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday when he was struck by a plow truck driven by his father, Kevin Capponi, 36. State police said the boy was on a scooter playing in his driveway as his father was backing up the truck at their Quaker Ridge Road home.
The child was taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.
The father later posted photographs of his son on the profile and timeline cover of his Facebook page. He wrote, “Please forgive me and my family. … I love him with all my heart. … it is now broken” on a link to the Sun Journal story about the accident.
Reaction from the Greene community and from Lewiston — the father graduated from Lewiston High School in 1996 — was supportive. Facebook friends posted their sympathies and favorite verses from the Bible and expressed their love for Nathan, Kevin and the entire family to both parents’ Facebook pages.
“It breaks my heart that his life was cut short and it breaks my heart to watch you hurt,” Facebook friend Christine Roy Beaucage wrote on Kevin Capponi’s wall.
The school mourned as well, according to Spencer’s statement. Nathan is survived by his sister Zoey, a fifth-grader at the school.
“We are going to be here for her when she gets back to school,” Spencer said Thursday.
Teachers recalled that Nathan enjoyed a good joke.
“His sense of humor was well-developed,” Spencer wrote. “He cared deeply for his classmates and was a good friend to many. He loved to help others.”
Students from Capponi’s first-grade class made the cards and decorated the tree, a white birch, because it was the child’s favorite and one he liked to play on. Students also decorated his desk and the wall in his classroom in his honor, according to Facebook posts.
Spencer said Greene Central School and all schools in SAD 52 would be closed Friday for a previously scheduled teacher workshop day. The school closing was unrelated to Wednesday’s tragedy, she said.