HARVEYS LAKE — Grief counselors were on hand at Dallas High School in Luzerne County to help students come to grips with the death of a recent grad. The young man was killed in a crash over the weekend.
Hockey sticks and T-shirts mark this tree on the side of Carpenter Road in Harveys Lake, a very different from the way things looked Saturday morning when police say 18-year-old Jason Schilling died after crashing his car into the tree.
Schilling graduated earlier this year from Dallas High School, where he was known as a good hockey and baseball player, but teachers remember more about his smile than his skills on the field.
“From what I know from Jason in the four years that I knew him, he was respectful, contagious smile,” said Dallas High School Principal Jeff Shaffer.
“Jason was incredible. He had a smile to die for. Everybody loved him, so respectful. He’s going to be missed,” said business and technology teacher Diana Alichnie.
Police say Jason drove into this tree head-on, where over the weekend friends and family turned it into a memorial, not only dropping off flowers, but also writing notes.
Loved ones also used Facebook to pay their respects, posting photos and messages in a group called ‘In Loving Memory of Jason Schilling. We love and miss you.’
“He was well-liked and he was always respected, so a witty young man that would make you smile when you saw him,” said history teacher Jason Rushmer.
Schilling had been taking classes at Luzerne County Community College and was supposed to start working at Big Boulder Ski Resort.
Dallas school officials say Jason is the third student of the class of 2012 to die this year. It’s been a lot for students and teachers to handle.
“I think the current students that knew him, of course they knew, the huge loss of a life, but I don’t know how much more we can take,” said Alichnie.
The crash is still under investigation. There will be a viewing for Jason tomorrow at Boyle and Son Funeral Home in Kingston from 4 to 7 p.m. The funeral will be Wednesday.
His family is planning a celebration of his life for his friends on January 4, what would have been Jason’s 19th birthday.