The local education community is mourning the loss of one of its own this week after school officials and family announced Tuesday that Simon Mushombe had died.
"My younger brother, Simon Mushombe, had been missing for over two weeks and we just received the unfortunate news that he had passed away under questionable circumstances," Rehema Mushombe wrote in a post on GoFundMe. "This tragic news (has) hit my family suddenly and without saying much, we are desiring to put him away peacefully. We would appreciate any help possible."
An account has been established on the crowdfunding site by the family. Donations can be made by visiting the site at gofundme.com/f/jyewmf-funeral . As of Dec. 2, the account had amassed $9,528.
"We are deeply saddened and grieved to share with you the loss of one of our students, Simon Mushombe," Gregg Koskela, communications coordinator for the Newberg School District, wrote in a mass email sent to school patrons on Wednesday. "Simon has been missing for two weeks and this tragic finality is heartbreaking. … Our deep condolences are with the entire family and friends of Simon."
Koskela added that Mushombe, a senior at Newberg and Catalyst high schools, has siblings that attend Antonia Crater Elementary and Chehalem Valley Middle schools.
The school district deployed its crisis response team on Monday evening, caring for family members, student friends and school staff.
"They have been active in schools supporting staff and students," Koskela said, explaining that members of the crisis response team include counselors and school psychologists and that the district has also connected with other resource agencies in town for additional support.
"Our thoughts are with each member of our community during this difficult time," he said. "Please observe your student closely over the next several days and weeks to watch for signs of distress, which may indicate a need for additional support and guidance."
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