An emotional night in Clifton Park for Shen's homecoming game of the season. Friday night's football game came just hours after Dennis Drue, 23, pleaded guilty to killing two students in a December crash on the Northway. Erin Vannella has more.
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- Timing was right. Three thousand Shen students filled the field in a spirit rally Friday afternoon and Friday night, the Plainsmen battled Albany High. As they advance the ball, those touched by that tragedy move on, too.
"Just a lot of emotions today. A lot of tears. They told us this wasn't going to bring happiness to anyone, regardless of what was decided. That a void was going to still be there and the emptiness and they're right," said Michael Stewart.
Michael Stewart says it's been a tough day. His son used to be a star on the football field. Friday, the young man who stole Chris Stewart's future in the sport, confessed.
"We've still got a lot of pain and we're dealing with it the best that we can," said Stewart.
But homecoming was the perfect time to learn Dennis Drue's guilty plea Shen's superintendent says. Cheers tend to be louder than thoughts.
"My son, he's like, you know dad, we can finally stop talking about this. Not that we forget Chris and Deanna, but talking about what the trial is going to be like, what's going to be the outcome, etc. A lot of times, people don't think kids are thinking about those things, but they do," said Robinson.
It's a relief, Dr. Oliver Robinson says. So is proof the Shen and Shaker students in that car were not at fault.
"For our student body, it was a grave and unfortunate reminder of what happens when bad choices are made. Better yet, to put an opposite on it, it's about making the right choices," said Robinson.
So crash survivor Matthew Hardy plays on. Bailey Wind attends college and the Rivers family, like Michael Stewart, pushes on with the community behind them.
"We want to get our thank you out to as many people as we can. We want to thank people that have really touched us," said Stewart.
Dr. Robertson says he's proud of the way his students, staff and faculty have handled the tragedy. Never forgetting, never disrespecting and learning from other's mistakes.