An array of interests.
That is how Heidi Larsen, children’s librarian at the Manchester Library, described South Kitsap High School sophomore Cassidy Holtzman, who died Thursday at Harborview Medical Center from injuries she sustained when she was hit by a car Oct. 26.
Larsen said she met Holtzman when she and her younger sister joined the LEGO club at the library. When the two stopped showing up, Larsen approached them in the library.
“They said there should be a LEGO club for girls because boys always built the same things,” Larsen said. “They started a group for girls. It was a lot of fun. I think (younger girls) came just because Cassidy and her younger sister were there.”
Larsen said Holtzman developed new, creative demonstrations each time the girls club, which had roughly 10 members, gathered. She said she respected Holtzman’s intelligence and how “she would just rattle off statistics.” Holtzman also was passionate about her interests.
“You meet teens that are really vague and not sure how to approach life,” Larsen said. “Cassidy knew what she was interested in. She was so eager for life.”
Holtzman was born in Pennsylvania and moved with her family to Port Orchard after her father, who worked at Naval Hospital Bremerton, was transferred from his position in Connecticut, according to Naval Hospital Bremerton spokesman Douglas Stutz.
He said six to 12 members of his staff commuted daily to Harborview to provide support for the family. They also visited the family home to perform tasks ranging from laundry to tending to the family’s two dogs.
“All the little things that are the last things you think about when your child is in pediatric intensive care unit,” Strutz said. “Our chief community at the hospital not only provided moral, spiritual and emotional support to the family, but they were able to drop everything and go to Harborview Medical Center. We are grieving for the family and we are there to provide as much moral support as we can.”
SKHS principal Jerry Holsten rode Holtzman’s bus route during the afternoon of Nov. 1 and again Friday morning. Students on the bus did not witness the accident, which occurred while Holtzman was crossing Jackson Avenue between Berger Lane and Azalea Avenue, but they did see the medical response. Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Scott Wilson said speed, alcohol and drugs were not factors in the crash, but it remains under investigation.
Holsten said the death has hit local schools hard. Students created a banner and signed get-well cards at SKHS to express their support.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” he said, adding that additional counselors from the district have been at the high school to provide support. “We continue to have our efforts and thoughts with students to help them through this process.”