One week before the start of the school year, the coastal community was jolted by a fatal car collision that killed 17-year old Jacqueline M. “Jackie” Pavik of Dagsboro on Sunday, Aug. 26.
The community heard the heartbreaking news Monday morning about the Indian River High School senior. That night would have been the marching band’s first rehearsal, featuring Jackie on the clarinet. Instead of playing, the band opened the rehearsal to the community. Students, friends, parents and recent graduates came together to find support.
“We just kind of sat around and talked,” said Mark Marvel, band director. “We all talked about it for a while first. Then we let the kids share their feelings and share stories about Jackie.”
Meanwhile, school and family counselors and the Rev. Woody Wilson from Mariner’s Bethel U.M. Church brought additional support.
“She was a neat kid. She was just one of those kids you liked,” Principal Mark Steele said. “She was a very nice girl, never got in any trouble in school.”
“A lot of kids were upset. It’s a big shock,” said Steele, but he said Indian River will continue to be strong. “When you come here, you’re part of a big family. Not just classmates, but teachers and administrators. When tragedy happens and people need support, you really need to step up, and that’s what makes us a strong school.”
“I never doubted this community’s ability to support during a time of crisis, and you have not disappointed. The incredible outpouring of love and support has been a great strength for me,” wrote Jennifer Pavik, Jackie’s mother, in a statement to the Coastal Point. ”I loved Jackie so much and was so proud of her, and while this loss is great for me and my family, I know everyone grieves with us. Thank you.”
Steele said this is the first time in his 23 years as an administrator that an active student has passed away, and he told his students, “Don’t take life for granted.”
The IR band will keep playing in her honor and dedicate this year’s football halftime field show to Jackie.
“We loved her,” said Marvel. “She was a big asset to the program. People feed off enthusiasm and pride, and she was just full of enthusiasm and pride for the band, and younger kids see it.”
Marvel said she apparently fell in love with IR band as an elementary school student. Years ago, she was one of the children he invited to guest-conduct the band at a holiday concert, and she wanted to be part of band ever since. She served on the uniform committee and as Band Council vice president.
“She was just a band nerd,” Marvel said fondly. “She loved it and worked very hard in it. … This was her senior year. We’re gonna miss her.”
An open memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 6 p.m., at Melson Funeral Services at 38040 Muddy Neck Road in Ocean View. Friends and family may call after 4:30 p.m. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Jackie’s name be made to the IRHS Band Boosters; 29772 Armory Rd.; Dagsboro, DE 19939, or to a charity in this community of the giver’s choice.
The single-car crash that killed Pavik occurred three miles east of Frankford, on Omar Road, on Sunday, Aug. 26, about 10:50 p.m.
Jackie Pavik was riding in the passenger seat of a 2003 Honda Accord, driven by her friend Ashlee J. Reed, 17, of Frankford. According to Delaware State Police report, the car was driving westbound on the long curve of Omar Road when Reed lost control of the car for unknown reasons. Just west of West Road, they said, the car began to rotate counterclockwise and slid across the eastbound lane of Omar Road. The car left the south side of the roadway and struck a tree on the passenger’s side, according to police.
Pavik was properly restrained, but was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. Reed, who was properly restrained, was removed from the scene by EMS and transported to Beebe Medical Center. She was then transferred to Christiana Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, which have required surgery since then. Omar Road was closed for three hours for investigation of the crash.