OLNEY- Parents, teachers and students of Olney and Sherwood High School are mourning the death of Sherwood High School student Shawn Richard Gangloff, who died after a car crash Labor Day weekend.
Gangloff, 15, was a well-known and widely-liked student who played lacrosse for the school and hoped to attend Salisbury University after graduating.
Early on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 30, Gangloff and two friends left a party in a car. While one friend was driving, the car struck a tree, light pole and telephone box near the intersection of Hines Road and MacDuff Avenue before flipping over. The driver and front seat passenger were seriously injured and Gangloff, who was riding without a seatbelt in the backseat, was ejected from the car. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking for every single member of our community,” said Sherwood principal William Gregory. “We are determined to celebrate Shawn’s life and support the Gangloff family.”
Friends of Gangloff have created a memorial to him at the tree at the site of the crash. Numerous students have visited the memorial to pay their respects and leave flowers, photos, and other mementos. One mourner taped a poster board to the tree with a picture of Gangloff and the handwritten message “Keep smiling, Warrior.”
Members of the class of 2016 at Magruder High School, Sherwood’s perennial athletic rival, urged their fellow students via Twitter to wear Sherwood blue on the first day of school after the holiday as a show of solidarity.
Gangloff’s funeral was held Tuesday at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Olney. Several hundred people attended, including Sherwood students and faculty, members of the community, and staff from Olney Elementary school, where Gangloff’s mother, Allison, teaches fifth grade.
“His mother was remarkably together at the funeral. I don’t think I could ever have been,” said one Sherwood parent who visited the memorial on Tuesday. “She was in teacher mode – she told the students there to listen to their parents and to not drink and drive.”
Montgomery County Police are still investigating the cause of the crash, though it has been determined that alcohol was consumed at the party Gangloff and his friends attended.
“We, as a society, have to confront the phenomenon of underage drinking,” Gregory said. “We hope to bring the Every 15 Minutes program back to Sherwood and we will be looking to the students and the community for other ideas to address the problem.”