Mary Cariola Center remembers 12-year-old boy killed in fire: ‘He could bring a smile to anyone’s face’

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HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — A principal is sharing her connection with the young boy who died in a fire on Hague Street in Rochester Monday morning. Christopher was a beloved student at the Mary Cariola Center.

Rachael Griffin was Christopher’s principal at the Mary Cariola Center for the past year. She said hearing the news of the fire Monday was heartbreaking.

“The loss of a child is so tragic for our community and especially the family and how can we support the family, how can we support our staff and other students,” said Griffin.

She said Christopher has been a student at the East Henrietta campus since last year and was at the Elmwood campus for years before that. Griffin said he loved one-on-one time with staff members and had close bonds with many of them.

“He was close to everybody that he could be around, he would light up a room when he walked in a room so everybody knew Christopher and really had a strong love and passion for him, he could bring a smile to anyone’s face.”

The center has brought in outside counselors to help students and staff grieve Christopher’s death. She said they’re putting together a scrapbook of photos and artwork to give to the family in his memory.

“Being able to share those stories together, tell the stories, look at the pictures, and be in person is such a way to work through out grief.”

The center will also honor his memory in an annual memorial service.

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