My name is Jess Baer and I am the Director of Operations at Explore Upper School. I am reaching out to share some difficult news with our entire K-8 community.
Early Monday morning, there was a fire in our community on Linden Blvd, between Bedford and Flatbush. Several were injured in the fire, and two lost their lives. One of those that lost their life was our rising 8th grader, Wysden Augustin.
Wysden was a beautiful person and immediately brought positivity and a joyful radiance to our community. All of us who have had the pleasure and honor of knowing Wysden, can attest to his impact on his community. You can check out some amazing statements from his teachers, photos, and videos of Wysden performing with his Step Team/African Drumming by clicking on this link.
The passing of a child is a tragedy that one would hope no parent, family member, or teacher would ever have to experience and is sure to raise many strong emotions among our community. We have a few next steps for our community, listed below.
Fundraising for Wysden’s Family While Wysden and his grandfather passed away in the fire, his mother and grandmother are currently recovering in the hospital. The PTO and Explore have collaborated to create a GoFundMe to help cover expenses from the funeral, hospital bills, and damages to their home and belongings. Please access the GoFundMe here and feel free to spread widely to your network of family/friends.
Community Circle Honoring Wysden Our Upper School community will gather together on Thursday, July 9th at 1pm to share memories and mourn this loss together. All are welcome to attend by logging into Zoom using the following ID: 738 928 0769 and password: wysden
Grief Counseling Our Upper School counselor, Mr. H, will be available for virtual counseling throughout the summer on Tuesday afternoons. If you are interested in having your child participate, please email me back and I will let you know how to access the Zoom session. We also have counselors and social workers available for any student who requests a private session; if you are interested in this option, please let me know.
Supporting Students with Grief We have compiled a bank of resources for you to take advantage of should you want guidance on how to best support a student experiencing grief. Enclosed is some information that may be useful to you in helping your child process this news at home.
The uncertainty and challenges we’ve faced as a community over the last several months have required all of us to dig deep into our reserves of resources, coping mechanisms, and compassion for one another. The death of a community member is unthinkable, and we will band together as a team and family during this challenging time. I will be the point of contact for any questions, comments, or thoughts – please email me here or call/text at 917-586-4335.