Lane community gathers to honor Greta Pearl at recovery vigil
September 5, 2019
Shortly after a moment of silence, candles were passed around and slowly lit one by one to shine upon the sunset-washed crowd of people bonded by one girl, Greta Pearl. Friends, family, teachers, teammates and neighbors alike filled Bell School’s south lot in attendance of the Candlelight Recovery Vigil in honor of Greta on Aug. 29.
On Aug. 12, the Lane community was left heartbroken upon receiving the community message that detailed a serious car accident and the loss of a classmate and friend, Garrett Brodersen.
Greta was involved in the accident and according to a GoFundMe fundraiser set up by Katie Bermingham Snyder, a close friend of the Pearl family and organizer of the recovery vigil, Greta is suffering from “broken bones, internal injuries and traumatic brain injury.”
At the vigil, Snyder started by thanking the crowd of supporters who came and showed their support for Greta. There were card-making tables set up around the area before the vigil that friends and family could go to and make notes to send messages of healing and love.
“Madeleine [Greta’s mom] reads every single one,” Snyder said. “Any card that is sent to them for Greta they read to Greta.”
In addition, Snyder shared an update from Greta’s parents regarding her recent progress and the cautious steps being taken towards recovery.
“We want all of her friends and supporters to know that we are here and sharing their messages of support and love for Greta,” according to the update from Greta’s parents read by Snyder.
Mr. Stepek, who teaches AP Human Geography and AP European History, got to know Greta while teaching her during her freshman year. Stepek remembered the enthusiastic attitude and work ethic that she brought to his class every day.
“Greta was a very sweet girl in my class,” Stepek said. “Always upbeat. Always had a smile on her face.”
Julia Filimowicz, Div. 060, attended the vigil and mentioned that she played volleyball with Greta when she was on the JV team her freshman and sophomore year. Filimowicz said Greta brought many things to the volleyball team, including her ready-to-go attitude and constant support during games.
“We are definitely missing her from the team,” Filimowicz said. ”We are missing her energy and goofiness. We really hope she has a fast and quick recovery. I can definitely say for myself that we are missing her as a player, her sportsmanship, her personality, everything. We cannot wait for her to get back and cheer us on.”
Ms. Sears, who teaches English II and AP Literature, taught Greta her sophomore year. Sears recalled the positive attitude that Greta had towards both school and the people around her.
“Greta was always smiling,” Sears said. “She was always optimistic and now is the time that we have to be optimistic for her.”
Jamie Smith, Div. 071, said that she remembers playing one-on-one basketball with Greta when she first started as a freshman. Smith knew her to be spirited and passionate about all that she was involved in.
“Every practice with JV and Varsity she was always enthusiastic and ready to practice,” Smith said. “She was always so happy, I’ve never seen her sad.”
During the vigil, Snyder said that the “timetables” surrounding recovery progress are still unclear. Snyder said that the community needs to stay strong for Greta during this time and continue to pray for the best.
“We need to let her do this on her own time and continue to send all of our thoughts and prayers to her,” Snyder said. “Tonight this community is Pearl strong.”