Teen dies in crash, but hundreds rally to get him a diploma
CAPE MAY — Members of a South Jersey senior class are trying to secure a diploma for a classmate who died in a car crash.
The 17-year-old died last Saturday when his 1995 black two-door Nissan 200 SX overturned on Fulling Mill Road in the Villas section of Lower Township after side-swiping a tree and then hitting a second tree head on, according to Lower Township Police. He was identified in an obituary as Jamie Klecz, though police did not disclose the teen's identity.
He died on Sunday at Atlantic Care Medical Center, according to police.
Klecz was a senior at Lower Cape Regional High School, where friends are trying to get him awarded a posthumous diploma.
"He lost his life too soon but before this time he tried his hardest in everything he did. He struggled to succeed in school. He was a great person inside and out and it is people such as him who deserve their diploma," the petition, posted on gopetition.com, reads. As of Monday afternoon, 475 people had signed the petition.
Lower Cape May Regional School District Superintendent Christopher Kobik told New Jersey 101.5 he is concerned about sensationalizing the request.
"I am aware of the request but that has not yet been presented to me. The school district and myself will continue to work as compassionately as we can with this family and his friends through this tragedy," he said.
Kobik said that once the grieving process has passed, "we will work with that young man's family and friends to honor his memory. I'll review the petition when I receive it."
The Cape May County Herald reported the school administration came under criticism by some of Klecz's friends because the school didn't mention his passing until the day after it became public. Kobik told the newspaper the district was not immediately prepared to provide grief counseling at that time and had not yet spoken to the teen's family. Several students walked out of school in protest, according to the report.
"All he ever wanted was to graduate, I believe that anything is possible and in this situation I believe he should be able to succeed beyond the grave," the petition reads.
A GoFundMe page has also been created to help with funeral expenses.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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