Tragedy Strikes Farmingdale High School: Two Educators Killed in Bus Crash
FARMINGDALE, NY – The devastating bus crash that occurred last Thursday in upstate New York, claiming the lives of two beloved Farmingdale High School educators and injuring dozens of students, continues to grip the village and beyond. The community has come together in grief and remembrance, honoring the lives lost and supporting those affected.
On Sunday morning, close to 400 people gathered at St. Kilian Parish in Farmingdale to attend Mass. During the service, a priest shared a heartfelt memory of Beatrice Ferrari, a 77-year-old band chaperone and retired teacher who tragically lost her life in the crash. He recalled laughing with her just the prior week after her grandson had an outburst in church.
Meanwhile, inside the auditorium at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School, students from 10 high school marching bands, representing various schools across Long Island, performed in their dress uniforms. Many of them wore small green ribbons to pay tribute to the victims of the Farmingdale High School bus crash.
These events, a Sunday Mass and a marching band competition, took on a deeper meaning as the community grapples with unanswered questions and prepares for funerals to be held in the coming week. It serves as a somber reminder of the fragility of life.
One of the participating band directors, Eric Dobmeier from Copiague High, shared his condolences, stating that the crash hits close to home for him as he has taken bus trips with students many times throughout his career. The tragedy has left a lasting impact on the community, and they remain united in support for Farmingdale High School.
Kamar Birthwright, a senior and member of Dobmeier’s band, expressed his sadness over the incident, emphasizing that it could have happened to anyone. Other members of the community, such as Farmingdale schools superintendent Paul Defendini, have provided updates on the injured students, stating that they are expected to recover.
The charter bus involved in the crash was one of six heading to a band camp in Pennsylvania. The National Transportation Safety Board, the lead investigative agency, is currently looking into various factors that could have led to the crash, including a faulty tire, mechanical issues, driver error, and other possibilities.
Three days after the tragedy, mourners sought solace in St. Kilian on Sunday, attending Mass to support the parents of the injured students and the families of the teachers who lost their lives. Tina Cottone, a chaperone who was on another bus at the time of the crash, expressed the importance of the community coming together during this difficult time.
Angelica, a freshman dance team member at Farmingdale, spoke about her excitement for the trip and the overwhelming support she received from her teachers and community. In an effort to spread joy, she and her mother delivered care packages to her classmates, teachers, and coaches. The packages contained chocolate lollipops and pretzels, putting smiles on the faces of those who received them.
Gina Pellettiere, the director of bands at Farmingdale High School who also tragically lost her life in the crash, was described by a colleague as someone with a vibrant personality, always ready to make others laugh. She deeply loved her job and her students.
As Farmingdale grieves and supports one another, the community remains resilient, coming together as a family to heal and honor the lives lost.