The Woodland Hills Wolverines are dedicating tonight's game at the Wolvarena to Hank Woodhall, the Forest Hills teen who died after a skateboarding accident in Chalfant last Thursday.
The students and staff of the school district have been deeply affected by Woodhall's death, according to Korie Lozier, assistant athletic director. She said he had grown up in the Woodland Hills school system.
"It really hit home," she said Friday morning. "He was really loved by people in the district."
Hank, 16, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, hit his head on the pavement along Fairview Avenue in Chalfant as he was riding down the hill Sept. 20. Friends said he had been riding the RipStik, which is a cross between a skateboard and a snowboard with two wheels. After brain surgery was unsuccessful, he was taken off life support and died Sept. 22.
Earlier this week, teachers at Woodland Hills High School, where Hank was a student, paid $2 for the privilege of wearing blue jeans to work, raising about $800 for his parents, Dale and Max Woodhall. The girls' field hockey team collected about $200 in donations at their game. And more money was raised during a collection at breakfast during school.
Tonight, Woodland Hills High School staff member Matt Rodrigues, who has been handling grief counseling, will lead a moment of silence in Hank's memory at the beginning of the game. The Student Leadership class will be in the stands, collecting donations.
And a tight-knit group of Woodhall's friends, known as the "Rec Crew," will be at a table selling lime green, silicone bracelets that say "R.I.P. Hank Woodhall" on one side and "Love, peace & chicken grease," something he always said, on the other.
The "Rec Crew" is a loose group of young people from both Forest Hills and Chalfant who hang out together up and around the Westinghouse Recreation Center on Greensburg Pike. For more than 20 years, local youths have been riding their bikes and skateboards there at "The Jumps," a kid-made place they made to ride their bikes and do tricks.
"These kids are grieving so bad at the loss of Hank," said Lynn Cisneros of Chalfant, whose son, Nacho, is one of the "Rec Crew" group.
"They just don't know what to do with themselves. I've had about 15 to 20 kids in my house. Some just wanted to sit together and watch TV. Others sat around the dining room table trying to do homework and others were in the family room just holding each other talking and teary-eyed. They go to the accident site where they've set up a memorial with candles, pictures and flowers and just sit there. It just breaks my heart that there's nothing I can do to help them through this but let them talk while I listen."
The friends are having a "Party for Hank" this Sunday at 3 p.m. at Chalfant Park to honor his memory. They are considering other activities to honor their friend, but plans have not been firmed up yet.
Yesterday, Forest Hills police Chief Chuck Williams said he was working to get some helmets to distribute to youths who don't have them. Cisneros said a police officer who responded to the scene spoke frankly to the Rec Crew kids at the funeral, telling them that there would be consequences if they were caught skateboarding or biking without a helmet.
"It was a shame that they didn't show that part on the news," she said. "His message was very clear."
To see some photos of Woodland Hills students getting ready for the fundraising effort on WTAE-TV's website, click here.
For other stories about the community response to this tragedy:
Forest Hills Teen Dies After Skateboarding Accident
Skateboarding Death Prompts Forest Hills Initiative