Lakeville mourns loss of 16 year-old Alyssa Ettl

Alyssa Ettl
Alyssa Ettl

Funeral set for Dec. 10

Lakeville is in mourning.

Stunned students, family and friends of Alyssa Ettl gathered at Lakeville churches Wednesday night, sharing prayers and grief for the 16 year-old junior who died in a car crash on slush-covered Dodd Boulevard apparently on her way to Lakeville North High School that morning.

Lakeville North Principal Marne Berkvam said the entire school is suffering the loss together.

“It’s tough,” Berkvam said. “We’re a close-knit family at North. It’s nice to know you have support. You just lock elbows and move forward.”

Berkvam said she learned about the accident from the School Resource Officer Andy Hentges minutes after it occurred, and immediately implemented the crisis response team, which included pastors from local churches.

She said she spoke with Ettl’s mother Jennifer several times Wednesday, describing the family as “devastated.”

“They have a lot of support from family and friends,” Berkvam said. “You just take it one day at a time.”

After students learned of the loss, the school opened the auditorium for anyone who wanted to gather and talk through their emotions.

“Within minutes the 600-seat auditorium was filled, including the stage” Berkvam said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Lakeville School District Superintendent Lisa Snyder said she was at Lakeville North all day.

“School, especially for the junior and senior class, pretty much came to a halt,” Snyder said. “Hundreds of students were grieving with counselors in the auditorium. It was a very emotional day for a lot of kids.”

Snyder said she also worked with the principals of Oak Hills Elementary and Century Middle School, where Ettl had attended, because many staff were also in grief over the loss of Ettl, who has been described as an outstanding student with a strong faith who reached out to others.

Berkvam said Ettl, a star soccer player who was to be team captain next year, was a junior class officer, a DECA officer and was involved in “Best Buddies,” a club for students to work with students with disabilities.

She was also a leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes ministry, a member of the National Honor Society and in student council.

“She was just an amazing young lady,” Berkvam said.

Ettl and her family attend All Saints Catholic Church, where Wednesday night over 100 students, families and friends gathered in the prayer, worship and grief to remember Ettl.

Snyder said the district and Lakeville police are urging students to avoid putting up a memorial or gathering at the site of the accident on Dodd Boulevard, because the narrow road with no shoulders is deemed too dangerous.

“We don’t want a memorial site at the crash,” Snyder said. “It’s a very dangerous place. We don’t want students out there.”

She said there is a potential the city would shut down the road for a period of time soon to allow students to hold a memorial service at the place of the accident.

Interim Lakeville police Chief John Kornmann said those discussions are in the very preliminary stage.

“We still need to talk to the school to see what their wishes are,” Kornmann said.

School District spokeswoman Linda Swanson said Ettl’s favorite color was light blue, and in every one of her classes Thursday, her dean Cheryl Meger will place a blue poinsettia on Ettl’s desk in her memory.

A blue poinsettia was placed in every one of Alyssa Ettl's classes Thursday. Light blue was her favorite color. (Photo submitted)
A blue poinsettia was placed in every one of Alyssa Ettl’s classes Thursday. Light blue was her favorite color. (Photo submitted)

Swanson said the grief at Lakeville North has been “palpable” among students and staff alike.
“That child touched so many lives, it just is amazing,” Swanson said.

Kornmann said Ettl was driving southbound on slush-covered Dodd Boulevard about one quarter of a mile from Lakeville North, when the Pontiac Grand Prix she was driving slid sideways and the driver’s side crashed into a GMC Acadia traveling the opposite direction.

There will be a visitation on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at All Saints Catholic Church. The funeral will be held Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 11:00 a.m. at All Saints with one hour of visitation prior to the service. Burial at All Saints Cemetery following the funeral.

All Saints Catholic Church is located at 19795 Holyoke Avenue in Lakeville.