VIDOR, Texas — Students and teachers at Vidor ISD are mourning the loss of a classmate.
11-year-old Noah Randell died Monday night in a house fire, and his father was badly burned trying to save him.
School officials said the loss has hit the school district hard, but the campus is responding to help the school community through the grief.
Vidor Middle School Principal Kerri Pierce said the atmosphere for students and teachers has been somber, and she described Noah as a kind soul.
While the school is working through their pain, the elementary school is stepping up to help Noah Randell's family.
The phone call about Noah's death left her in complete shock, Pierce said, but unfortunately this is not an unfamiliar situation. She said she has been the principal at Vidor Middle School for three years, and Noah is her third student to pass away.
"It doesn't get any easier," Pierce said.
These tragic losses have taught her how she can help her students cope, she said, especially at an age where death can be difficult to explain.
"It's super hard even at this age," Pierce said. "Even the ones who didn't know Noah, they still were affected by it because then I think it becomes a reality, death becomes a reality."
While the Vidor Middle School community grieves, Vidor Elementary School set up a donation area to help the family during this difficult time.
"The whole district has banded together, and we are taking donations, gift cards, anything to help the family," Pierce said.
These acts of kindness from the school district and community are a light to Noah's family during this dark time, family members said.
"The community has surrounded us, and we have people willing to donate and send their thoughts and prayers," Noah's aunt Katy Johnson said. "I just ask for prayers, prayers. We need all of them to help up get through this."
Principal Pierce shared a message for Noah's family.
"I just want the family to know we are here for them, and we are working together as a district to help them at this time," she said.
Anyone who wants to help can drop off donations at the lobby of Vidor Elementary School, located off Highway 90. Donors should tell the front desk that the gift is for the Randell family.
How to help
Noah's aunt has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to help pay for funeral expenses and to help the family since they lost everything in the fire.
If you want to donate needed items, a drop-off location has been set up at the Vidor Elementary School.
The family is in need of the following sizes in new/gently used clothes:
- 4T/5T boy's clothing
- Size 10 boy's shoes
- Small men's shirts
- Small men's pants/Jeans 27 x 32 or 34
- Boy's shoes size 12
- Women's 5/6 pants
- Women's medium shirts
- Women's shoes size 8
Plans are also being made to hold a link sale or plate lunch benefit for the family. Details haven't been decided yet.