WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 25, 2011, 04:14 PM

Friends and classmates gather to remember Tabby Belmonte

Perham, Minn. (WDAY TV) - What an emotional week for students in Perham, Minnesota. Celebrating a trip to the state tournament, the appearance of Zach Gabbard at a game, then the horrible news a classmate had been murdered.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

In school today, friends and other classmates of Tabby Belmonte remembered the 16-year old who died after her boyfriend repeatedly shot her before turning the gun on himself. Students organized today's remembrance.

No 16-year old should be honored or remembered so early in their life. But today, friends of Tabby Belmonte brought flowers, lighted candles, and letters to the front entrance of Perham High School.

Inside, a student organized gathering. A short but powerful time for Tabby's classmates to grieve and share something few of them have yet to deal with: The tragic loss of a friend. A video and music tribute to Tabby, photos of a vibrant teenager who recently became a mother.

For the teenagers who gathered, raw emotions. But also, some thoughtful gestures of doing what they feel needs to be done. Creating a decorated cardboard box, that one by one, students filled with dollar bills to raise money for Tabby's baby girl Emma.

Many of the students tried to console each other during this time of remembrance. It was a school today that tried to heal a hurt while preparing to say goodbye to a friend. The funeral for Belmonte is set for Monday at two at Calvary Lutheran in Perham. The funeral for Dylan Cox is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Zion Lutheran in Amor.

Teachers and administrators in Perham have tried to give the students space this week following the murder-suicide. The crisis team made-up of counselors and staff comforted those who were touched by the loss of Gabby.

But Superintendent Tamara Uselman says today's gathering of classmates was all student driven and she says the young people proved they can take a tragedy like this and learn from it. Students also set up a memorial of candles, letters and flowers outside the entrance to the Perham School.