LONG ISLAND - The Farmingdale community is grappling with the loss of two cherished figures, 43-year-old band director Gina Pellettiere and 77-year-old retired history teacher Beatrice Ferrari, both of whom died when the bus they were riding on careened off of a highway and fell town an embankment on Thursday.
To many, Ferrari was not only an esteemed retired history teacher but a mother figure, a grandmother, and a dear friend.
"She was a mom, a grandmother, mother-in-law, she was like a mom to me," said Ferrari’s son-in-law Daniel Aldieri. "She loved band camp. She must’ve gone 30 years. It was a trip she looked forward to it every year, to have her go this way is so sad."
"I’d go ‘Bea what are you doing going to band camp?’ and she’d say ‘I love it you know I love being with the kids’," said Ferrari’s friend Linda Leone.
Pellettiere, known to students as "Ms. P," was not only a dedicated educator but a devoted single mother to a toddler.
Remembering Pellettiere, local resident Susan Perna told FOX 5 about how Pellettiere's passion for teaching music was infectious, and it played a pivotal role in inspiring Perna's son to pursue a similar path.
"I said ‘You have a great job,’ and she said ‘I have the best job, and what’s better than teaching my passion,’" Perna said.
Throughout the weekend, grief counselors will be on hand to provide support to those grappling with the loss.
A touching memorial, adorned with candles, balloons, and flowers, has been established in front of the high school and continues to grow.