McLean High School is starting the school year on a sad note this year. On Tuesday, Aug. 15, Nathan Pitkin, 16, and his grandfather Ronald Pitkin, 75, were killed when Ronald Pitkin crossed over the center lane of Route 74 in Ticonderoga, N.Y., crashing into a tractor-trailer. Nathan Pitkin would have started his senior year at McLean High School next month.
"They were visiting colleges up north," said Paul Wardinski, principal of McLean High School. "It's a tragic event that reminds us that we need to look at every student as an individual."
Suraj Shamra, 17, also a rising senior at McLean High School, was in the backseat of the car and remains in critical condition. Shamra was airlifted from the scene of the accident to a hospital in Burlington, Vt. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Ellsworth Anderson, 53, of Rockwall, Texas was not injured. Ronald Pitkin lived in Alexandria and was a retired Navy nuclear submarine captain.
Rising McLean senior Jorge Quinteros was friends with Nathan Pitkin, and attended his funeral last week — as did principal Paul Wardinski. Quinteros remembers Nathan as someone "who always had energy for everything" and "the guy who would come up with ideas of what to do and always bring people together."
"It did not matter whether we went to Georgetown, watched TV at his house, or played ping pong at my house — it was always fun," said Quinteros. "He is the type of person you could have fun with just by being with him... that's the part I liked most about him."
Quinteros has chosen to become a vegetarian for the rest of the month in honor of Nathan's memory.
"I had a great respect for his love of animals and for becoming a vegetarian on his own," said Quinteros. "That is just my way of paying respect to him and the family."