83.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, August 15, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesAccident Victim Remembered as Singer, Writer and Friend

Accident Victim Remembered as Singer, Writer and Friend

June 8, 2009 — The Charlotte Amalie High School senior class was not expected back on campus Monday. After graduating the day before, many students had planned to stay at home or, at most, pop into school briefly to pick up a final transcript or talk to a teacher.
Those plans were shattered Monday morning, after news spread about the tragic death of their classmate, 18-year-old Karence DeCosta, who was killed just a few hours after the graduation ceremony in a car accident on Veterans Drive. So the seniors were called back in Monday morning to join ninth, tenth and eleventh graders, along with teachers and administrators, at an assembly honoring their friend, who most remember as a gifted singer and writer who was well on her way to accomplishing great things.
The students wanted to know why her life was cut short. "Bad things happen to good people," was the phrase repeated over and over again.
At this point, little is known about what caused the accident. But it should not be assumed that drugs or alcohol were involved, several students said after the assembly Monday. Some students said they were angered by callers to radio talk shows Monday, speculating DeCosta might have been drunk. DeCosta was not known to be a drinker, and no one saw her drinking alcohol after the graduation, according to a group of seniors who gathered afterward to talk about DeCosta's death. The group also dismissed rumors that the male passenger in the car with DeCosta Monday morning played a part in her death.
One writer to the Source went as far as suggesting that foul play might have been involved in DeCosta's death because of her V.I. Carnival Queen contest win in April. It's not unusual to hear rumors of collusion and worse circulating after pageants.
What the seniors chose to remember, however, was how happy DeCosta looked at graduation, after delivering rousing performances of "Ave Maria" and "The Star Spangled Banner," among other songs. She was glowing, they said.
"She sang her way into our hearts, right from the beginning," said Sherea Delsol, CAHS' senior class president, who sat next to DeCosta during graduation ceremonies at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center. "She was a real individual."
Delsol had been nursing a cold for the past few weeks. She remembered repeatedly coughing at Sunday's graduation ceremony and thinking about asking one of her classmates for a napkin.
"At one point, I think I said something like, 'I need a napkin,'" she said. "I just put it out there, just said the words out loud."
DeCosta acted quickly by pulling a stranger over at some point during the ceremony.
"She asked the woman if she had a napkin for me," Delsol said. "I couldn't believe it. But that's just the kind of person Karence was. It's so strange thinking about graduation, when we were sharing all these memories about the class and the times we had, and going to the service today, when we were all sharing memories about a person who was sitting right next to me just a little while ago."
The keynote speaker during Sunday's commencement ceremonies imparted a message that resounded loudly with many of the students Monday.
"The speaker said, 'Make your next decision your best choice,'" Delsol said. "I keep thinking about that. Karence had so much potential. And that smile. All you had to do was look at Karence and it would brighten your day."
DeCosta's death sent shock waves throughout the entire community Monday, with many community members recalling her performance at this year's Queen Show, where she was crowned V.I. Carnival Queen. Present at Monday's assembly was Gov. John deJongh Jr., who also recalled that DeCosta was a National Honor Society member and part of the CAHS marching band.
"Our loss is deepened by the fact that the full potential of Karence's life will never be witnessed," the governor said Monday. "It was just last night that we were in awe as she heartily sang at her high school graduation. Her renditions of the National Anthem, "Black Butterfly" and "Ave Maria" clearly indicated that music was her passion and that she wanted to share her music and singing with everyone she met."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
June 8, 2009 -- The Charlotte Amalie High School senior class was not expected back on campus Monday. After graduating the day before, many students had planned to stay at home or, at most, pop into school briefly to pick up a final transcript or talk to a teacher.
Those plans were shattered Monday morning, after news spread about the tragic death of their classmate, 18-year-old Karence DeCosta, who was killed just a few hours after the graduation ceremony in a car accident on Veterans Drive. So the seniors were called back in Monday morning to join ninth, tenth and eleventh graders, along with teachers and administrators, at an assembly honoring their friend, who most remember as a gifted singer and writer who was well on her way to accomplishing great things.
The students wanted to know why her life was cut short. "Bad things happen to good people," was the phrase repeated over and over again.
At this point, little is known about what caused the accident. But it should not be assumed that drugs or alcohol were involved, several students said after the assembly Monday. Some students said they were angered by callers to radio talk shows Monday, speculating DeCosta might have been drunk. DeCosta was not known to be a drinker, and no one saw her drinking alcohol after the graduation, according to a group of seniors who gathered afterward to talk about DeCosta's death. The group also dismissed rumors that the male passenger in the car with DeCosta Monday morning played a part in her death.
One writer to the Source went as far as suggesting that foul play might have been involved in DeCosta's death because of her V.I. Carnival Queen contest win in April. It's not unusual to hear rumors of collusion and worse circulating after pageants.
What the seniors chose to remember, however, was how happy DeCosta looked at graduation, after delivering rousing performances of "Ave Maria" and "The Star Spangled Banner," among other songs. She was glowing, they said.
"She sang her way into our hearts, right from the beginning," said Sherea Delsol, CAHS' senior class president, who sat next to DeCosta during graduation ceremonies at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center. "She was a real individual."
Delsol had been nursing a cold for the past few weeks. She remembered repeatedly coughing at Sunday's graduation ceremony and thinking about asking one of her classmates for a napkin.
"At one point, I think I said something like, 'I need a napkin,'" she said. "I just put it out there, just said the words out loud."
DeCosta acted quickly by pulling a stranger over at some point during the ceremony.
"She asked the woman if she had a napkin for me," Delsol said. "I couldn't believe it. But that's just the kind of person Karence was. It's so strange thinking about graduation, when we were sharing all these memories about the class and the times we had, and going to the service today, when we were all sharing memories about a person who was sitting right next to me just a little while ago."
The keynote speaker during Sunday's commencement ceremonies imparted a message that resounded loudly with many of the students Monday.
"The speaker said, 'Make your next decision your best choice,'" Delsol said. "I keep thinking about that. Karence had so much potential. And that smile. All you had to do was look at Karence and it would brighten your day."
DeCosta's death sent shock waves throughout the entire community Monday, with many community members recalling her performance at this year's Queen Show, where she was crowned V.I. Carnival Queen. Present at Monday's assembly was Gov. John deJongh Jr., who also recalled that DeCosta was a National Honor Society member and part of the CAHS marching band.
"Our loss is deepened by the fact that the full potential of Karence's life will never be witnessed," the governor said Monday. "It was just last night that we were in awe as she heartily sang at her high school graduation. Her renditions of the National Anthem, "Black Butterfly" and "Ave Maria" clearly indicated that music was her passion and that she wanted to share her music and singing with everyone she met."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.