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Red Rock students are "Aware for "Pierre"

Red Rock Elementary fourth graders are in the process of collecting 25 bicycle helmets to donate to students in need in honor of their classmate Pierre LeQue, who died in a bicycle accident this fall. (Staff photo by Amber Kispert-Smith)

It was the first week of school when Red Rock Elementary fourth graders learned that one of their classmates, Pierre LeQue, had died.

LeQue, who lived in Lake Elmo, was involved in an accident when, while on his bicycle, he collided with a motorcycle at the end of his driveway. The motorcycle was stopping on the shoulder of the road to inspect a mechanical issue. LeQue was wearing his helmet.

LeQue was a new student to Red Rock.

“He was a big part of our lives even if it was for a short time,” said Red Rock fourth grade teacher Marge Lindberg, who was LeQue’s teacher. “Death is a tragedy, and of course the death of a child is a horrible tragedy – we’ve spent a lot of time healing from this.” 

Red Rock Elementary fourth graders are now trying to salvage a positive from the tragedy by collecting 25 bike helmets to donate to children in need.

“The more people that are safer, the more people that won’t die,” Red Rock fourth grader Adam said.

“We didn’t want other people to go through what Pierre went through,” Red Rock fourth grader Mya said.

Lindberg and her students remember LeQue as full of life and a lover of Legos, biking, sports caps, the color yellow and pink shoes.

“He was very hyper and very happy here,” Red Rock fourth grader Nick said.

“He was very fun,” Red Rock fourth grader Molly said.

Even though LeQue had only been in Lindberg’s class a short time, she said he definitely wasn’t overlooked.

“Pierre was a very loving little boy,” she said. “They all just connected so quickly.”

It was because of that connection, and LeQue’s love of giving, that inspired students to collect helmets in honor of him.

“They wanted to do something that Pierre would want,” she said.

The helmet collection, dubbed “Be Aware for Pierre,” was initially aiming to donate 25 bike helmets to the Woodbury Public Safety Department on Feb. 3, Pierre’s birthday, but students were just shy of that goal with 19.

“Once we reach 25, we will have them picked up,” Lindberg said.

She said the helmet collection has helped students overcome LeQue’s death in a positive way.

“We’ve been very open about the whole thing,” Lindberg said. “We didn’t close doors, we didn’t hide it from them.”

LeQue has actually become a focal point in Lindberg’s classroom since the class erected a memorial in his honor.

“We wanted something to remember Pierre,” Lindberg said. “He’s with us every day.” 

“He’s always watching down on us,” fourth grader Caila said.

In many ways, LeQue’s death has been a learning experience for the children.

“Going through something like this in a community has probably one of the best experiences of my life as a teacher,” Lindberg said. “It’s amazing watching them come through this and giving of themselves.”

Lindberg said she is impressed with how her students have chosen to handle LeQue’s passing.

“They’ve had to show incredible resiliency,” she said. “Even though Pierre was brand new to our community, he made an impression.”

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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