11-year-old Delavan girl who died in car crash recalled

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Stan Milam
Friday, October 26, 2012

— When asked to describe Avery McCarthy, her school principal said she was the type of girl who "lit up the room."

Avery, 11, is now "asleep in Christ, and will awaken with us all someday," said Enno Haan, the principal at Delavan Christian School where Avery was a fifth grader. She was killed Wednesday in a one-car crash at 6:15 p.m. on Highway 89 near Whitewater.

Two 17-year-old females were also in the car. The driver was not seriously injured. The 17-year-old front seat passenger was transported with critical injuries.

Avery died at the scene. She was riding in the back of the 2003 Nissan Sentra that left the highway and struck a utility pole.

In a press release, the Walworth County Sheriff's Office provided details of the accident, but no names. Capt. Scott McClory said the department was deferring to the wishes of the families. He said he did not believe that alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.

Haan said he received a call from the coroner Wednesday shortly before 9:30 p.m.

"I notified staff and board members, and we implemented our action plan," Haan said. "We decided to hold classes (Thursday).

"We had previously scheduled a half day Thursday, which was a blessing. The students were dismissed at 11:40. We also agreed to continue with parent-teacher conferences Thursday evening.

"Each teacher dealt with the situation in each class with support given depending on the age of our students," Haan said. "We ended our school day with a prayer service."

Haan was visibly shaken as he addressed reporters. He said he was operating in a stressful situation on just two hours of sleep.

Asked how the students and staff at the school were doing, he said they were all relying on their faith.

Delavan Christian School is a religious, private, but non-denominational school, Haan said.

"We have students from 30 different churches," he said. "We have received support from some of those churches. Two pastors have been with us, and school counselors and psychologists, including some from the Delavan public school district, were kind enough to help out."

With some difficulty, Haan recalled some of Avery's activities and joys.

"She was a volleyball player, and I believe she was looking forward to next year when she could be on the basketball team," he said. "I know she was also looking forward to playing a second instrument, the trombone."

Haan said he has been teaching for 30 years and has never had to deal with a student death.

"Her gifts to us all will be sorely missed," Haan said. "She was a dearly beloved classmate.

"Because we are a tight-knit family, we all share Avery's memory," Haan said. "The Lord will sustain us."

Last updated: 4:46 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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