Dover, NH Community Mourning Loss of Beloved Cheerleader
The Dover community is mourning the loss of a high school varsity cheerleader who was known for his tumbling abilities and award-winning personality.
Andre Schaeffer, 16, died on June 12 at Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts after a suicide attempt.
Kelsey Leighton Daigle posted video of Schaeffer healthy and tumbling on Facebook Monday morning. She is a cheerleading coach at Dover High School and Maine Stars Cheer Gym.
Dover High School Cheerleading posted photos on their Facebook page.
"Andre’s spirit and always full of life personality will never be forgotten. Our tumbling king, the glue to our team, the one that always said “you can do it," & the athlete that inspired all.... will always be a part of the DVC. His name WILL live on through our program forever. We are thankful and grateful for all he has taught us," was written by the Facebook page's administrator.
Cheercast also shared photos of Schaeffer on their Facebook page.
"Andre's wish was to donate his organs, so for us, he will never truly be gone, because he will live on in others. We sure hope someone will be receiving his heart because when they do they will get the greatest gift of all. Andre's heart was full of passion for all that he loved to do, especially cheer, empathy for those who struggled, motivation to do his very best, and above all gave unconditional love to all who knew him," administrators wrote.
They wrote about how Schaeffer's smile was contagious and the fact that he had a quick wit.
"He beat his own drum and was an amazing young man...wearing often one pink and one blue sock, creating vlogs that made us all chuckle, and landing double fulls on a dime every time! We loved him for all that he was and words can not express how much he will be deeply missed!" administrators wrote.
Schaeffer wanted to cheer at Navarro College, a public community college in Texas, which is known for its competitive cheering program. He then intended to return to New Hampshire and work as a police officer.
Generally speaking, the mental health of preteens and teenagers is currently being discussed in New Hampshire.
On June 3, Gov. Chris Sununu announced a $100 million mental health investment in New Hampshire.
When asked about what will be done to help preteens and teens affected by the pandemic, Sununu said that kids have endured a lot.
The governor said his top goal is creating a system that parents can turn to if their child is experiencing a mental health issue.
"It’s about that mom. It’s about that dad that sees their kid in crisis and says, 'I know what to do. I’ve never dealt with this before, but I know there’s a system there that can provide those supports for my kid,'" Sununu said.
The state is also making sure kids are treated the right way in a setting appropriate for children.
"How you deal with mental health issues or anxiety and crisis issues with a child
is so very different than with an adult and you have to have that right expertise," Sununu said.
Patrick Ho, immediate past president of the New Hampshire Psychiatric Society, recommends talking with teens about mental health.
Ho said pediatricians are cross-trained to help parents and children find the resources they need.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. Resource information is provided for free as well as a chat message service. To speak directly to a professional, call 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone and help is available. Every life is important.
Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com.
Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic: