Teen killed in St. Joe Co. crash loved performing arts

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The young woman killed in a crash Monday afternoon has been identified as 18-year-old Kassidy Hockert, of Granger.

Kassidy was big into performing arts, dancing her entire life and being a member of Penn High School's choir and theater programs. She was planning on attending Indiana University South Bend with a music theater and dance major, according to Penn High School.

Kassidy's obituary says she danced all her life, since she was only 4 years old. She went through several dance programs and was big into musical productions, being involved with shows like "Newsies," "Fame" and "Seussical."

When she got to high school at NorthWood, she was involved in choral programs before transferring to Penn and joining the Rhapsody show choir and other performing arts programs.

Many of those programs now say they lost a family member. According to Premier Arts, she was someone who brought light with them.

"Family is forever," a post said. "We will never forget you or the light that you brought with you to our home. We love you, Kassidy."

Penn High School choir says devastation is an understatement of what they're feeling, but they want to share what Kassidy's light brought them.

At her funeral on Saturday, Penn High School choral members, NorthWood High School choral members and former members of both will be coming together to sing and show how many people loved and cared for Kassidy and how they're united in song.

That's not the only way people are uniting around Kassidy's death. NorthWood students are wearing purple Wednesday as a way to unite and honor Kassidy.

"Over the last 24 hours, surrounding communities & ours have experienced unexpected loss in the form of tragic car accidents.
For us, Kassidy Hockert‘s life, though too short, was so well lived & loved," the tweet said. "Wear PURPLE tomorrow to celebrate this former Panther & her positive spirit."

According to her obituary, donations can be given to the Kassidy Hockert Dance and Theatre Scholarship Fund.

The Penn High School Choir released this statement:

"Dear Penn Choir Family,

Yesterday our community learned some awful news. One of our choir seniors, Kassidy Hockert, was in a single-car fatal collision around 2:20 pm. To say we are devastated is a complete understatement. This tragic reality is still settling, and our hearts break for her entire family.

We are a family, and when one of us has a joy, we all can celebrate that joy. Likewise, when a member of our family experiences grief, we all grieve together. My friends, now is the time to grieve with each other as we prepare to celebrate the beautiful life of our beloved Kassidy. We may not understand why this tragedy has occurred, but we can find relief in sharing our great stories and memories of Kassidy with each other.

As we share in this pain with Kassidy’s family, we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Additionally, we are assembling a group of current and former choir members to sing at the funeral if you would like to honor her life and spirit in this way. We will be singing Stephen Paulus’ “The Road Home,” a favorite of many. The words are incredibly uplifting, and I know Kassidy would love it. We will also sing “Stand in the Light,” another beautiful song with a great message. Music and recording tracks will be available to learn these at www.pennchoir.org around noon today. We will be joining forces with choir students from her previous school, Northwood High School. This coming together will show how many people loved Kassidy and that we are united through song.

Kassidy’s viewing will take place from 2:00-8:00pm on Friday, and the funeral will be Saturday at 11:00am at Nappanee Missionary Church located at 70417 State Rte 19 N, Nappanee, IN 46550. Final details are still being discussed. Check our website for updates.

When we return to school, grief counselors will certainly be available for students and staff. Let us grieve together so we can remember Kassidy’s beautiful life. In this way we can begin to heal together as a choir family. We may have lost one of our own, but she will forever be remembered.

Take care of yourself so we can take care of each other. In this way, we can take care of this place."

Penn High School Principal Sean Galiher released a statement to parents that said:

"Dear Penn High School Families,

It is with deep regret that I inform you about a recent loss to our school community. Yesterday afternoon (Monday, February 11), Kassidy Hockert died in a motor vehicle accident. Kassidy was a senior and a member of the Penn Concert Choir, Rhapsody and dance groups. She also participated in theatre at Premier Arts in Elkhart. She planned on attending IUSB in the fall and majoring in music theatre and dance. Her sudden, tragic death saddens Penn's faculty, staff and students. Please keep Kassidy's family in your thoughts in these difficult times.

To help the students and staff that knew Kassidy, we have a Crisis Intervention Team of professionals trained teachers and counselors to help with the emotional needs of students, and school personnel during difficult times such as this. Penn Counselors will be available for any student who may need grief assistance surrounding this loss. If you feel your child may need help, Penn’s Counseling Office will be open and counselors will be available during the school day. If you need other assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Penn Director of Counseling John Westra at (574) 258-9502 or jwestra@phm.k12.in.us.

A visitation will be held on Friday, February 15th from 2:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Nappanee Missionary Church (70417 State Rte 19, N. Nappanee, In 46550). Kassidy's funeral will be on Saturday, February 16th at 11:00 a.m. also at Nappanee Missionary Church. To honor Kassidy's life and spirit, current and former Penn and Northwood choir students will be singing at the funeral. Kassidy attended Northwood High School before transferring to Penn after her sophomore year.

Parents can visit this link on the P-H-M District website https://www.phmschools.org/district-info/grief-resources-parents for assistance on helping your child deal with a loss. We encourage you to use these resources."