Marin Academy students and officials mourn the loss of a sophomore who died in a car crash in Yosemite Tuesday morning.
Alena Dennison died when a van she was traveling in with seven other teens rolled over on Tioga Road, according to reports. No other vehicles were involved and the cause of the crash is unknown.
Dennison played keyboard in the World Music Ensemble and enjoyed sports and dance. Her peers remember the teenager for her humor and sunny disposition.
“Alena was a vibrant and warm young woman who made instant connections at Marin Academy, enriching our community,” school officials wrote. “[She] embodied the essence of Marin Academy.”
On a Facebook memorial page, friend Savannah Turley wrote about Dennison’s wit on a family trip to Canada. After hours on the road, Turley said “you are ...such a baby Alena.” To which she replied, “I’d rather be a baby than a pessimistic wannabe adult.”
Friends shared photos of Dennison through the years enjoying the beach, hanging with her family and tight rope walking.
“I will always think of [Alena] on that tight rope,” Cate Hollister Wallenfels wrote. “The grace and beauty with which [she] did it - that is how [she] moved through life.”
Dennison’s attitude and optimism touched even those who didn’t know her well. “Whenever I saw [her], [she was] always smiling and laughing and filling a room with energy,” wrote acquaintance Keli Sherwood.
Tuolumne County officials will continue to investigate the accident, according to reports.
The school counselor and Marin Academy Head Travis Brownley will be available for those in need of support. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.