Reporting by Kaitlyn Becker, Brittney Feather, Krys Manchette, Lizbeth Sanchez, and Alondra Villegas
On a grey, drizzly Wednesday, in the early morning before the first bell, a solemn group of students, parents and friends gathered by Weld Central’s flagpole.
Finally, they could say goodbye.
About a hundred people congregated to remember Izzy Leet, who died in a car accident last December, and to plant a tree in her memory. Resurrection Christian High School in Loveland donated the pine sapling for the ceremony. They also lost a student last semester during the Trace Young Basketball Tournament, in which Izzy was the starting point guard for Weld Central’s varsity team.
Besides staff and students, Izzy’s parents and sister were in attendance. Rachel, her sister, came from Minnesota to be at the service. After a short prayer from Izzy’s father and some words from James Canaday, the girls basketball coach, attendees were invited to put a handful of soil in the hole where the tree was placed.
The memorial moved many of the students. Izzy’s family hugged everyone in the procession that helped plant the tree, and some came away from the throng in tears.
More than sadness, though, there was hope. The tree will stand by the front entrance of the school for years to come, a testament to Izzy’s fortitude and grace. This was also the first year the school was able to offer the Izzy Leet Memorial Scholarship to graduating seniors who excelled in both athletics and academics. The scholarship fund awarded $8,000 in its inaugural year to four people: Mikayla Brovsky, who received $4,000; Christina Gerken, who received $2,000; Jordan McClure, who received $1,000; and Caitlin Bauer, who also received $1,000. Mikayla and Caitlin will attend CSU in the fall, while Christina is enrolled at NJC and Jordan signed as an athlete for Hastings College.
Izzy was a talented guard for the girls basketball team, but she was as strong inside the classroom as she was outside it. A gifted student, she took AP US History her junior year while also juggling College Prep English and College Algebra.
The tree is a memorial to Izzy, but, for those countless people who made a connection or memory with her, it is also a form of solace.
Photographer: Kate Powell