United: Students join together to create a memorial garden - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Heidi Wigdahl

United: Students join together to create a memorial garden

LEWISTON/ALTURA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Students at Lewiston-Altura High School are determined that the memory of three young girls live on through a memorial garden.

On April 23, 2010 four girls were headed to a track meet shortly after classes let out at Lewiston-Altura (L-A) high school when their pick-up flipped.

"I didn't think it was going to be as bad as it was but I just remember going home and crying," said Ana Thesing of L-A high school.

The girls, 16-year-old Shauna Ruhoff, who was driving, 14-year-old Katie Hornberg, 13-year-old Morgan Zeller and then-12-year old Cydney Maker were reportedly racing their friend's vehicle right before the accident.

None of the girls were wearing seat belts. Maker is the only one who survived.

"The day of the crash I remember saying goodbye to Shauna without even thinking about it but then I never got to say anything else to her after that," said Justin Puetz of L-A.

It's been almost a year since that crash but classmates at L-A are not forgetting.

"I have to drive by the crash scene every day from school and your heart always just, you feel it just that little bit when you drive by there and it seems everyone in the entire community was involved," L-A classmate Clint Neumann said.

The school received three trees from the families of Shauna, Morgan and Katie. Student council members hope to raise enough money to build a garden in their memory.

"I think that's really the biggest idea of the garden is it's always going to be there after we all graduate," explained classmate Jackson Riebel. "Newer generations of kids can walk through the garden and know why it's there, about the girls and what happened, and just you know pay their respects."

"I definitely think our school has become a lot closer. There's a song written, the title of it was "United" and I think that definitely captures our whole school feeling of becoming united and being one," Thesing said.

Thesing went on to say, "There are certain things that remind me of Shauna. Like when we have milkshakes at lunch, she used to always get those and put cookies in them. The Monday [after the crash] when we had school, the girls who sat at our table, we went and got a milkshake and put cookies in it just to remember her, so like little things like that."

In order to raise money classmates will be putting on a talent show at the high school on February 20 at 2 p.m.

Cost is $5.00.

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