The halls of West High School rang with a message of gratitude and hope Tuesday morning when the parents of Michael Ucci addressed the students via video.
The Uccis said they were overwhelmed by the students’ and the community’s emotional and financial support after the Jan. 27 car accident, which left their son dead and three others, including Michael’s sister, severely injured.
In a video played in classrooms, the Uccis read a Robert Frost poem and praised their children’s friends in a broadcast that left many viewers speechless and others near tears.
Fundraisers organized by students and community members have raised more than $25,000 to help cover the medical costs of Marie Ucci, Bret Clifton and Justin Baker, according to Kristi Thornton, West High activities director.
Bret and Justin were both released Tuesday, according to friends of the two West High students. Justin, who underwent surgery on her back last week, was at San Joaquin General Hospital for 10 days.
Friends who visited Bret at his home Tuesday said he was in fairly good humor and is expected to begin rehabilitation soon. Bret, who was at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, lost at least one leg in the accident.
Marie is in fair condition at University of California, Davis, according to a hospital spokesperson.
“The community has been very generous, and we are very proud of the students who’ve stepped up to the plate to raise these funds,” Tracy Unified School District Superintendent Jim Franco said.
Students held buckets in storefronts and near the crash site on Lowell Avenue to gather donations after school and over the weekend.
A group of students and their parents from both West and Tracy high schools will wash cars Saturday to raise more money for the Ucci, Clifton and Baker families.
West High’s Slam Jam Rally on Friday is also dedicated to the four crash victims. Senior cheerleader Trisha Sandford worked with classmates Tuesday to build a spaceship for the rally. The students said they’ve had more support at school events.
“The accident has already brought the school together,” Trisha said. “We want the spirit and involvement to continue through to other activities throughout the year.”
At a glance
WHAT: Car wash for West High School crash victims
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Corner of Grant Line Road and Tracy Boulevard
DETAILS: Hot dogs and tri-tip sandwiches will also be sold.
INFO: Kendra Kooy, 679-4284; or Amanda Smith, 612-2900
To contact reporter Danielle MacMurchy, call 830-4221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.