Cooper Elem. students honor crash victim with Gracie Day



Posted on May 13, 2014 at 4:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 13 at 7:14 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--Tuesday was declared Gracie Day at Cooper Elementary as students and staff celebrated the 10-year-old girl who was killed in a wreck outside of Ritzville. Students honored her Tuesday by wearing bright colors to class.

Gracie Snider died in a crash in early May.  The car she was in hit the back of a semi-truck outside of Ritzville.

WATCH: Manito Park vigil remembers 10-year-old killed in crash

Snider’s memorial was Tuesday night.

The tragedy hit home for students and staff at Cooper Elementary. They said Snider was everyone’s friend. Snider’s mom was the school counselor at Cooper Elementary and decided to take the rest of the school year off.

WATCH: Memorial grows for Cooper Elem. student killed in crash

"The best part about her I think, is that everyone felt like she was their friend... so it's been hard,” said fifth grade teacher Adam Oakley.

Staff said Snider was no ordinary fourth grader.

"She wasn't just a fourth grader in her class," said Fitness and Health teacher, Stephanie Splater. "She was a Cooper student and a Cooper kid of the highest character.”

The empty office of Gretchen Snider, Gracie’s mom, reminded staff of the difficult time their friend was going through.

"To lose one of them the way we lost one of them is hard enough. But to have it be a staff member's child was devastating,” said Splater.

Cooper Elementary students and staff rallied around the duo and celebrated young Snider’s personality on Tuesday.

"She was always smiling, always in a great mood,” said Splater.

People at the school wore crazy socks and spunky outfits. Even the lunch ladies dressed like Snider did.

"The only thing more colorful than Gracie's personality were the clothes she picked out,” said Splater.

Teachers said Cooper Elementary began healing on Tuesday.

READ: Cooper Elem. School student killed in crash with semi

"You can't help when you dress like this to smile and laugh and have fun and that's what she was about,” said Splater.

The Cooper family wanted the Snider family to know that they were there for them.

"Cooper is a family and we'll be here. And we're ready to rally around her when she's ready,” said Splater.

Snider’s memorial at Life Center Church on Tuesday was open to the public.  Family members requested everyone attending the memorial to wear bright colors in remembrance of Snider.