School district in southern Ohio mourns death of second student in one week

MASON, Ohio — A school district in Southern Ohio is mourning the death of a second student in one week.

Mason City Schools announced Friday that Nourah Alshammari, a recent graduate from the Mason High School Class of 2024, died last week, our news partners at WCPO-9 reported.

Alshammari died following complications from a lung transplant, according to the district.

“Nourah was a bubbly, joyful, resilient woman who loved her family and her school,” the district wrote in a statement to families. “She was very proud to graduate from Wm. Mason High School, a we are forever grateful that she was able to participate in a private commencement ceremony earlier this week.”

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The Public Information Officer for the district, Tracey Carson said Alshammari’s family knew she wouldn’t make it to Sunday’s graduation so the district planned the ceremony to ensure she got the degree she’d worked hard through health issues to receive.

“She earned that diploma,” Carson said. “So, a few members of our staff got to be with her, some of the Children’s Hospital personnel and her family, with her cap and gown on, being able to get her diploma.”

The school district’s crisis team, which consists of therapy dogs and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center therapists, was at the high school on Friday, May 17, according to the district.

“Our hearts go out to Nourah’s family and friends in what we know must be imaginable grief. Please keep them in your hearts,” the district wrote.

The announcement of Alshammari’s passing came a day after a 17-year-old Mason High School student died Thursday morning in a wrong-way crash on I-71.

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Ohio State Highway Patrol said the driver of a semi truck was heading south on I-71 in Deerfield Township around 1:40 a.m. Thursday when it was hit head-on by a the teen’s 2-15 Jeep Grand Cherokee driving on the wrong side of the interstate.

OSHP identified the 17-year-old as Chad Samuel Chase on Friday.

Psychologist Dr. Stuart Bassman told WCPO-9 that the deaths coming at a time when students would normally be celebrating graduation makes it a particularly difficult time for young people to process what’s happened.

“It impacts the adolescent right in the heart,” Bassman said. “The adolescent is looking towards the future. They’re looking towards hope.”

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Bassman said many students may attempt to push the grieving process back and compartmentalize their emotions while the graduation period happens.

He warned parents to monitor their kids’ emotions as that period comes to an end.

“It doesn’t go away. It comes back to that. It comes back to them, so it is something they have to face,” he said.

Carson said the district would continue to monitor and provide resources to students who express concern for their mental health through the Safer Schools Tip Line.

“Even when school stops for the year, we don’t stop being here as a resource,” said Carson.

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