Students at Auburn Drive High School spent the day yesterday talking, consoling one another and writing messages of love to their lost schoolmate, Mitchel Bellemore.
RCMP confirmed mid-morning that a body found in the area of Morris Lake off Caldwell Road was that of the 17-year-old, who had been missing since last Friday.
School principal Bernie MacEachern said news of Bellemore’s death was a shock to everyone.
“We were very hopeful over those first two days that he’d be found because a lot of people knew him and felt he would turn up somewhere in somebody’s home or something like that,” he said.
MacEachern said it was a sad day for students, many of whom had never before been through such a loss.
Grief counsellors were at the school to help the Grade 12 student’s friends cope with the tragedy, and staff set up a remembrance area dedicated to the teen outside the main office.
Students filled several brightly coloured pieces of bristol board with heartfelt messages of sympathy for Bellemore and his family.
Bellemore’s family gathered at the teen’s grandparents’ house for part of the day and his uncle said the family was grieving, but felt some sense of resolution.
“The people that were there did a great job, they found him. It was not an outcome that anybody wanted, but with the time frame, it was expected,” he said.
He also said that Bellemore’s father did whatever he could Monday to try to get the search for his son rolling again after it was suspended Sunday evening when no signs of the teen had turned up.
“I will give my brother credit, every person that he called, every string that he pulled, and we got this back up,” he said.
Dozens of Auburn High students made their way to Morris Lake yesterday afternoon where Bellemore’s body was found and set up a makeshift memorial site to remember their friend.
The school was reopened between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. yesterday for students, family and community members to gather to talk and support one another.