Seatle World School Student Drowns in Lake Washington on Sunday

 Update: please, if you are new to our area - whether from elsewhere in the country or another country - or if you know someone is new to the area, let them know the waters in the Puget Sound, whether it's the Sound or lakes are very, very cold even on the hottest of days.  Even good swimmers can have problems.

Sad news from the World School:

Dear Seattle World School community,

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I share the tragic news that one of our students, Cuong Uong, drowned yesterday evening while swimming in Lake Washington. He was a junior.

This morning his father is planning a private memorial on the shores of Lake Washington with a small group of Cuong’s friends. We are following district protocol, allowing students over 18 to sign themselves out to attend, and contacting parents of those under 18 should they want to be dismissed to attend.

As a community, we are coming together to not only support our students’ family members, but each other in this difficult time. We have counselors at school today and will continue to have counselors and mental health support available this week for students, staff and families, as needed. When someone dies in a tragic accident such as this, it is normal for children and teens to have different kinds of feelings and reactions. Parents and guardians have important roles in helping students understand about death.

We understand that each culture has its own way of dealing with death, and we encourage our students to talk with their families about their ideas, thoughts and beliefs. Additionally, talking about the incident can be a healthy way for families to process their feelings and reactions to an event of this nature.

Here are some suggestions for how to help students cope:

• Maintain a normal routine.
• Stick to facts. Answer questions factually
• Remain calm and reassuring. Students take their cues from their parents and adults.
• Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to changes in behavior.
• Notice when children have questions and want to talk.
• Be especially loving and supportive; children and teens need you even more at this time.
• Take care of yourself. You are better able to help your students if you are coping well. If you are anxious or upset, children are more likely to be so as well.

We recognize that even if your student may not have known or been close to this family, he/she may still feel a strong reaction. We also realize this may be your student’s first experience with death or it may trigger feelings about other deaths your child may have experienced.

If you have any questions, please let me know. We will keep you updated on how we as a community can move forward. The family requests support for funeral costs. If you would like to help, the VFA (Vietnamese Friendship Association) has set up a fund and cash and/or checks can be written to the VFA and under subject please write: SWS Family In Need.

Concie Pedroza
Seattle World School Principal

2. Underneath Fund: please select [SEATTLE WORLD SCHOOL]
3. In the comments section please put: family support
4. Cash donations will go to the Seattle World School to be then entered electronically through the website


NW mom said…
Oh that is heartbreaking. So sorry for his family.
Anonymous said…
King 5 has a good piece about the dismantling of West Seattle's Middle College curriculum and now SPS's decision to close the school. It's a sad story. I am guessing it will take heavy community pushback to change this course of action. Since most people don't seem aware of the school's history, I am not sure how that can happen.

mirmac1 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
dw said…
This is so heartbreaking. When I take off my district activist hat and put on my parent hat for a minute, it saddens me to see such lengthy discussion about things like being excluded from a school carnival, and almost no discussion here. I understand why it happens that way, and I don't expect it will ever change, but it's still sad.

This week a family lost their son. I don't know him personally, and I don't actually know anyone currently at his school. But if everyone who is a parent reading here just closed their eyes and took half a minute to consider the unexpected death of their own child, and the incredible loss, grief, questions, blame, stress, that the family is undoubtedly going through right now, well, maybe that's all I'm hoping for, more discussion, more empathy. Who knows, maybe more donations to help pay for funeral costs, which aren't cheap.

Parents, family, friends of Cuong Uong, if you happen to read here, please accept my heartfelt wishes to make it through the coming days, weeks, months. I can't imagine what you're going through.
Anonymous said…
dw: I cannot fathom that anyone on this blog thinks that any of the District's operational, personnel, or political issues holds a candle, in terms of gravity, to the loss of this boy or what his family must now be going through. I think the reason people don't comment isn't because it means less -- it is because we all know (as you so aptly pointed out) that it means so much more, particularly to his parents, other family members, and friends. It is a situation that just doesn't lend itself to "commenting" or "chiming in," as other issues do -- and it had not occurred to me to pass condolences along to his family through this blog, as I have no idea if they read it (although you did it so well, that now I wish it HAD occurred to me).

So thank you for saying so eloquently what I suspect went through all our minds. We are so very sad. The loss his family is enduring (and the thought for each of us of losing a child) is unimaginable and terrifying, and grievous beyond words.

mirmac1 said…
My sentiments exactly dw.

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