LEESBURG, Va. - The Heritage High School community in Leesburg is grieving after a 16-year-old died from the flu, according to her family.
Katie Giovanniello, 16, died Friday morning.
Her mother, Colette Giovanniello, said she was diagnosed with influenza B.
"She was just a good kid. A pretty girl. Always smiling and making people laugh," said Colette Giovanniello said.
"In my heart and soul if I thought that she was gonna end up dead. In my heart and soul I would have had her at the hospital."
A GoFundMe was set up to benefit her family as it deals with the death.
The Loudoun County school sent a letter to students and staff offering support for those dealing with their classmate’s death.
To the members of the Heritage community,
This morning, we received some extremely sad news concerning a student at Heritage, Katie Giovanniello. Katie passed away unexpectedly this morning.
As many of you no doubt are, I am deeply saddened by this news. A traumatic event can evoke a wide range of reactions, and I know that the Heritage community shares in the family’s loss and grief. Students are being notified of Katie’s death during their first block classes today.
The safety and well-being of our students is always our main priority, and we are prepared to support our students’ emotional needs as they arise. With that being said, we will have additional counselors at school today who will be available to help any students with questions they may have or difficulties they might experience. We are asking that you talk to your child to the degree you feel is needed.
In light of these events and out of respect for Katie, her family and friends, we will be postponing our planned pep rally and Mr. Heritage competition until next Friday, and we are cancelling the Snowcoming Dance scheduled for Saturday. Information for those who bought tickets will be shared at a later date.
I will pass along specific information about memorial services, as it becomes available. Thank you for your support as we work together to cope with this tragedy.
If you wish to contact our counselors for additional guidance in discussing this information with your son or daughter, feel free to contact our School Counseling Department at 571-252-2816.
Please feel free to contact us if there are any special needs that arise with you or your children surrounding this event.