Grade 11 Courtenay student dies on overnight school outing


The Comox Valley school district is mourning the death of a Grade 11 student who apparently died in her sleep during an outing on Hornby Island.

The girl, a student at G.P. Vanier Secondary in Courtenay, was part of an overnight trip to the Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre, said Paul Berry, the school district’s director of health and safety.

“The investigation is in the hands of the coroner,” Berry said.

He described the teenager as “a beautiful young woman, talented and an excellent student.” She was a good athlete and a member of the rugby team, Berry said.

“[She] had a full and wonderful day with her friends and her class, and went to bed after that full day and did not wake up the next morning.”

She was found Wednesday, Berry said, and immediate efforts were made to revive her.

There were three teachers and six staff at the centre with 36 students, he said.

“This young girl was part of the outdoor-ed program in our district, so we have students from all three high schools as well as international students involved. It was the first overnight team-building activity for this new cohort.”

Berry said the death has been hard on the students, teachers and centre personnel.

“Just completely emotionally shattering for all of them.” he said. “But in the face of it, the teaching staff and the staff from the centre demonstrated exceptional leadership, as did all of the kids.

“They were very supportive of each other, did everything they could do to try and assist and were very responsive to the support provided by the district’s critical-incident team.”

Counselling is being offered by the district.

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