October 18, 2013

Grief envelops Maine town after young life lost

Alexia Valente, 16, an energetic student-athlete who was ‘eager to take on the world,’ dies when her car hits a tree.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Alexia Valente

Contributed photo

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Sacopee Valley High School senior Steve Nieves and his friend Ellie Mikrut visit the site where 16-year-old Alexia Valente’s car left River Road in Hiram and hit a tree Wednesday evening. Alexia was heading home from a school soccer game when the accident occurred. Both of her passengers were injured and hospitalized.

John Patriquin/StaffPhotographer

Additional Photos Below

He said some students were dismissed from school Thursday because they were very upset, but most decided to stay because their friends were there. After an emergency staff meeting Thursday morning, the school district’s counselors gathered at the high school, as did many coaches, to help students deal with their grief, he said.

“She was a popular student. She was outgoing,” Wolfe said. “There are many friends who are really just kind of stunned by the loss today.”

Hundreds of students and other young people made a pilgrimage to the crash site during the day Thursday.

Andrew Morton, who graduated last year with a class of 80 students, described himself as a close friend of Valente.

“She was a very bubbly girl – positive, always smiling,” he said, looking away from the new cross planted alongside the road.

His aunt, Beth Sprague, wiping tears from her eyes, recalled that when her son was sick at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, Valente went with Andrew to visit him, even though she had never met him.

“It’s a huge loss, she said. “She touched a lot of people.”

Alicia Morton, another friend, said that when she learned about Valente’s death, she didn’t want to believe it.

“She was just beautiful all around,” she said. “She was the sunshine of the day.”

‘ALWAYS FULL OF ENERGY – PUMPED’

At the Valente home, family members infused their sense of loss with fond memories of a girl who was “one in a million.”

“She was very eager to take on the world,” said Ryan Hand, a brother-in-law.

“She was always full of energy – pumped,” said one of her sisters, Victoria Valente.

Alexia Valente was planning to go to college, but her mother expected she would return to her roots in this rural western Maine town, between the Ossipee and Saco rivers near the New Hampshire border.

She bagged her first deer last year, said her father, Steven Valente, his mouth clenching a cigar that had long since gone out. She started bird hunting with him this year and was looking forward to turkey season, he said. Last week, she got her first camouflage outfit.

Valente was an enthusiastic field hockey player. Her teammates wore ribbons Thursday bearing the number 2, her jersey number, family members said.

“She was really hoping to be captain of her field hockey team and they were going to hate her at the end of the year,” said her mother. “They were going to win states. She was going to work them ’til they puke.”

She had scolded her father for tossing out a bunch of old tires, because she had her eye on them as training aids.

“Maybe she was going to have them haul them up Pike Hill,” her mother said. “She was fired up and she made sure everybody else was pretty fired up too.”

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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Hundreds of students and other young people made a pilgrimage Thursday to the site where Alexia Valente’s car crashed off River Road in Hiram. “She was a popular student. ... There are many friends who are really just kind of stunned by the loss,” said Sacopee Valley High Principal Britt Wolfe.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

 


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