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Samantha Effingham (17) was killed when the car she was riding in ran a stop sign
Published: Nov 27, 2012 @ 8:41 PM
Samantha Effingham (17)
Nov 23, 2012
Cause of Death:
Battle Ground, WA
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Members of Woodland's school community are mourning after learning that Woodland High School senior Samantha Effingham died Friday.
The 17-year-old, who was killed in a car crash near Battle Ground, Wash., was well-known for her spark and enthusiasm at school, principal John Shoup said in a phone interview Saturday afternoon.
Shoup said that school staff were "saddened and sickened to lose such a beautiful young lady.
"We feel such a sense of unity of school and family in Woodland — it hurts all the more," Shoup said.
Effingham's family could not be reached for comment Saturday night.
Battle Ground resident Ryan L. Matison, 20, sped through a flashing stop sign in a 1994 Toyota Corolla and crashed into a 2006 Chevrolet pickup truck, according to the Washington State Patrol. Effingham, a passenger in Matison's car, died at the scene, according to WSP. All were wearing seatbelts and no drugs or alcohol were not involved, according to WSP.
Charges are pending against Matison, but police have not determined what they are.
Effingham, who was a Running Start student, had not been on campus full-time this year, Shoup said, but she was still a strong presence in the school's social life.
"Samantha just was a sweetheart of a girl. She was vibrant, full of energy — a lot of spunk, I guess I would say," Shoup said.
Effingham was known around campus as someone who loved fashion, was loyal to her friends and wasn't afraid to express her opinions or do things her own way, Shoup said.
"She was one who was not afraid to not follow or conform to the rules, but she was generous in her care of other people. She had a vibrant smile and a joy about her. She took good classes. You knew Samantha was there," Shoup said.
The loss is especially poignant for the school because, according to Shoup, Effingham is the fourth Woodland student who has died in as many years.
The school had already reached out to the family, Shoup said. Her parents, weren't home when he stopped by earlier, but he and other school staff planned to return with food, cards, and whatever else they could offer to support her loved ones.
"We made sure the family knows that we're there to provide any support we can," Shoup said.
To help students and staff cope with Effingham's death, the school will have staff meeting Monday, and will set up a "safe room" where students can go to write cards for her family, share stories, or talk with a counselor. In addition, the school will provide sidewalk chalk and encourage students to write out messages for Samantha and her family all over the school.
"We really try to work with providing outlets to appropriately deal with this grief. ... We just really encourage kids to share stories, and we'll make sure those get to the family," Shoup said.
Woodland High School mourns loss of senior Samantha Effingham
Woodland teen dead after collision on Highway 502
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