Montgomery County Public Schools Logo

Two Montgomery County Public Schools students — a rising fourth grader and a rising high school junior — died over the Fourth of July weekend, according to district leaders.

In a community letter sent Tuesday, Principal Matthew Hawkins of Viers Mill Elementary School in Silver Spring wrote that upcoming fourth grade student Darlie Fajardo had died.

“Darlie was a wonderful and kind young person who actively engaged in school learning experiences and extracurricular activities,” the letter said. “This news is heartbreaking and difficult for all of us to accept.”

In a separate community message on Tuesday, Principal John Taylor of Winston Churchill High School in Potomac wrote that a rising junior had died. The letter said he would not identify the student “out of respect for the family’s wishes who are asking for privacy as they process this tragic loss.”

“This news is devastating and heartbreaking for me and our whole Winston Churchill community and is difficult to accept,” Taylor wrote. “I have shared with the family that our thoughts and most heartfelt sympathy are with them.”

An online fundraiser for Darlie’s funeral had collected more than $9,000 as of Wednesday morning. The page says Darlie was a “happy, vibrant, energetic, exuberant, and loving young girl who loved singing, dancing, and running around everywhere, among other things.”

It says she loved her family and that her “energy and beautiful smile could bring instant joy to anyone, no matter the situation.”

“Her loss was a massive shock to our family,” the page says.

Any extra funds will be donated to the Animal Humane Society because Darlie loved animals, according to the fundraiser.

The letters said in-person counseling is available to any students who need the service and also provided links to online resources for parents about talking to their children about death.

“The death of a child in our community is a loss for all of us, we will grieve together, and support each other, because that is important at a time like this,” Taylor wrote.

 

Caitlynn Peetz

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com