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Iowa Mennonite School student dies after fall at school social

12.2. 2017 Written By: The Mennonite Staff

Teresa Cardenas, a student at Iowa Mennonite School in Kalona, has died after sustaining an injury from a fall off a ladder at a school social on Dec. 1. Emergency crews tried to revive Cardenas but were unable to. Cardenas, 15, was a 10th grader at IMS from Iowa City and attended Iglesia Menonita Torre Fuerte in Iowa City.

In a Dec. 2 statement on the school’s Faebook page, Principal Steve Schrag wrote: “This is a devastating loss for Teresa’s family and the community. The IMS community gathered Saturday morning, with pastors and counselors available.” Schrag also said the school is seeking additional resourcing through private counselors and the Critical Incident Stress Management Team from the Area Education Agency.

In a statement, Sgt. Chris Wisman of the Johnson County Sheriff Department said that Cardenas “was transported to the University of Iowa hospital where she was pronounced dead.”

Schrag invited prayers for Cardenas’ family, the Torre Fuerte church and youth group (a joint group with First Mennonite Church of Iowa City), and the school community. School will resume on Monday Dec. 4.

“May Christ’s peace that passes understanding guard all our hearts and minds in this time of immense grief,” wrote Schrag.

*According to her memorial on the Beatty & Peterseim Funeral Home website, Cardenas played basketball, soccer and was a member of the choir at IMS. The memorial states that she “enjoyed  volunteering, painting and writing poetry.”

IMS is a member of the Mennonite Schools Council (MSC) supported by Mennonite Education Agency (MEA). On Dec. 2, MEA staff sent an email to other MSC administrators informing them of the event and calling for prayer.

“During a time like this, we invite other schools and the broader community to keep the family, the congregation and the school in their prayers,” said Carlos Romero, MEA Executive Director, on Dec. 2. “This is a tragedy that is hard to understand and this type of experience causes a significant amount of trauma for the family and also the school. This is something that will affect the students, faculty and staff for quite some time.”

*A prayer service will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5 at Celebration Hall on the IMS campus. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 6, also on campus.

*This story was updated on Monday Dec. 4. 

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