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El Reno vigil honors the passing of two students and one teacher

by Kyle Fredrickson Published: March 5, 2014

/articleid/3940366/1/pictures/2367112">Photo - Students and friends embrace during a vigil Wednesday at Jenks Simmons Fieldhouse in El Reno. The vigil was for two El Reno teenagers, Karson Baker, 15, and Jesse Gorbet, 16, who died after suffering injuries in a car accident, as well as long-time teacher Susan Veekner, who was also died in a separate car accident. Baker and Gorbet were two of three teenagers critically injured in a crash Sunday. <bold>Page 3A</bold><252,1> <cutline_credit_leadin>Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman<252,1></cutline_credit_leadin> <252,1><252,1> <strong>BRYAN TERRY - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>
Students and friends embrace during a vigil Wednesday at Jenks Simmons Fieldhouse in El Reno. The vigil was for two El Reno teenagers, Karson Baker, 15, and Jesse Gorbet, 16, who died after suffering injuries in a car accident, as well as long-time teacher Susan Veekner, who was also died in a separate car accident. Baker and Gorbet were two of three teenagers critically injured in a crash Sunday. Page 3A<252,1> Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman<252,1> <252,1><252,1> BRYAN TERRY - THE OKLAHOMAN

Lee Green, a senior wrestler, smiled while reminiscing about his friend.

“If we were walking somewhere, he was always walking all big and buff,” Green said. “He was just a great guy, always a smile on his face. He was always there for me.”

Baker, 15, was a quarterback on the El Reno football team. But the school’s principal, Pat Litiker, said he was much more than just an athlete.

“Just a good kid, I knew (Baker) was God-centered,” Litiker said.

“He had a great respect for his friends. Everybody liked him.”

Classes resumed Wednesday after the week began with consecutive snow cancellation days. Dozens of counselors were available to students and faculty as the school reassembled for the first time since the accident. Litiker said Wednesday marked the first step toward a long recovery process for the entire community.

“We got by the first day-to-day, which was tough,” Liticker said.

“I anticipate tomorrow might be a little easier ...The good positive for us is that Thursday and Friday, we’re going to have area basketball tournaments...to go cheer and do something normal, to laugh and have fun, I think that’s something we all need right now.”

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by Kyle Fredrickson
OSU beat writer
Kyle Fredrickson became the Oklahoma State beat writer for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com in July 2014. A native Coloradoan, Fredrickson attended Western State College before transferring to Oklahoma State in 2010 and graduating in 2012. Fredrickson...
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