The rural house fire that claimed the life of five people Tuesday morning has left students and faculty at Seneca East Local Schools in anguish. Seneca East is where the three children that were killed in the blaze attended school.
Whether it's sixth grade volley ball - or whether it's boy scouts - these kids have been a strong part of what we're all about," says Seneca East Elementary Principal Brad Powers.
Olivia Bondy was in the sixth grade. Jaxon Hamilton was in second grade. Linkin Hamilton was in kindergarten.
Principal Powers says he thought of the children fondly. He says this is a terrible loss for the community.
"All the kids here are special to me. But again, these three are just truly special kids," he says.
He can't help but smile when he thinks about the joy that the children brought to his life.
"You walk in my office you'll see that, since Jaxon was six years old, I have a card on my bulletin board," he explains, referring to a thank you card he received after sending Jaxon a birthday card.
A letter was sent home with students, informing parents of the loss. They have counselors available to both parents and classmates of the children.
Powers says the small community is extremely tight knit.
"We're not only a community, we're a family. And that starts with the community members and the parents. We have great families, great parents, great children, great teachers and staff," he says.
And that bond helps them to deal with this tremendous grief.
Powers explains, "Whenever you're going through a time of loss, and you can do that as a family, I think that is very special and powerful thing."
He says a loss of this magnitude will be felt for some time.
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