MONTAGUE, P.E.I. – The flags at Montague Regional High School flew at half-mast on Monday.
They’ll remain in that position as a tribute to Brodie McCarthy until a funeral is held for the Grade 12 student, who was set to graduate from the high school next month.
McCarthy died on Mother’s Day after being injured during a rugby game Friday evening at Three Oaks High School in Summerside.
Principal Seana Evans-Renaud said Monday was a tough day for students and staff, with many still in shock.
“It was very quiet here today, there were a lot of tears,” said Evans-Renaud, who described McCarthy as a sports fanatic who was “so well-liked by everyone”.
“There was lots of laughter, too, when they were talking about things Brodie had done.
“He was the type of guy, one of the teachers said, even if he did something wrong you couldn’t get mad at him because he was such a nice kid. A really good athlete and just all-around a good guy.”
On Monday, a counselling consultant, psychologist and director of student services from the Public Schools Branch were at the school. Parents also came to the school to hold a barbecue for students while many care packages were received.
“(There were) lots of kids talking with teachers and with each other and just basically providing support,” said Evans-Renaud, noting the school had also opened on Saturday for students.
A display case in the school’s lobby held a fitting tribute to McCarthy, clearly showing his love of sports.
McCarthy was a member of the Midget AAA Kings County Kings hockey team but he was playing with MRHS’s rugby team, of which his twin brother was also a member of, when he was injured during the game.
McCarthy was later transported to Prince County Hospital and then to Moncton, where he underwent surgery.
Following the surgery, the school’s website announced on Saturday McCarthy did not register any brain activity and that his family had chosen to donate his organs.
Evans-Renaud noted that McCarthy had wished to be an organ donor following the Humboldt bus crash earlier this year.
“He did say to his parents after the Humboldt tragedy that if anything ever happened to him, he wanted to donate his organs,” said Renault Evans. “They didn’t have to think about it.”
Students also didn’t have to think before deciding to organize a collection to go towards a GoFundMe page that was established on the weekend to support McCarthy’s family, while others are hoping to hold a jersey day in support the family.
Within a day of being posted, the GoFundMe had doubled its $10,000 goal and raised more than $20,000.
While the high school is a tight-knit community, it’s also unfortunately no stranger to tragedy.
“Very much (a tight-knit community) and also a community that has suffered a lot of loss over the last few years,” said Evans-Renaud. “You can’t compare one to another but there’s been a cumulative effect, for our staff in particular, because we’ve suffered so much loss.”
While P.E.I. school rugby games were cancelled for this week, Evans-Renaud noted the school’s teams will be pulled from the league for this year out of respect for the family.
“The coaches, they couldn’t… they couldn’t go to a field right now,” she said. “It’s too soon.”
Montague Mayor Richard Collins expressed sympathies on behalf of the town to the high school and family, while a moment of silence was held prior to Monday night’s council meeting.
“I want to convey to the high school on behalf of the town our extreme sympathy on the sudden and unexpected passing of Brodie McCarthy… our thoughts and prayer go out to his family,” said Collins. “He passed away way too young.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made for McCarthy.