On Friday, Dec. 14, at 1:30 p.m., the day after 17-year-old Shaker High School senior, Marc Striz Strizzi jumped to his death from an Interstate 787 eastbound off ramp, 856 members had joined an online social networking site created in remembrance of him.
By the time the school day came to a close at 2:45 p.m. the same day, nearly 1,000 new members had logged on to facebook.com and a second group had more than 400 others registered.
Strizzi's apparent suicide has hit Shaker hard. The popular student, who excelled in track and field, particularly at pole vaulting and volleyball, has left hundreds mourning and asking why he did it.
"He was on the track and volleyball teams. Students looked to him as a leader. He was highly thought of by students and teachers. He was very well known in the school community," said North Colonie School District Superintendent Randy Ehrenberg.
The school had pulled counselors from other buildings to convene Friday morning with student athletes and classmates who knew Marc.
Counselors spent the day assisting grieving students and staff, Ehrenberg said. They met at the end of the school day to discuss how outreach would continue into the following week. Strizzi was well-known and liked; he touched a lot of lives; and many people are grieving over the loss, she said.
Recently, Strizzi was named as the district's athlete of the week. As Shaker's volleyball team captain, he was commended for carrying the team to the semi-finals of the Suburban Council Tournament, upsetting No. 3 seed Guilderland. In that match, Strizzi had 10 kills, two blocks and two aces.
On facebook.com, friends, students, athletes and graduates of Shaker High School are writing songs, poems and endearing sentiments to the Strizzi family. Some have written brief recantations of meeting Strizzi but not knowing him well. Others are recalling better times in class and grueling competition with the star athlete.