Former classmates and peers of Bellefonte student Dylan Crunick want to make sure his memory lives on at Bellefonte Area High School for a long time.
At a school board meeting last week, senior baseball player Garrett Reiter unveiled plans to install a memorial plaque in the home team’s dugout of the varsity baseball field in honor of Crunick, a former student and baseball player who died of cancer.
“Dylan was the perfect kid — smart, athletic, funny, kind and hard working,” Reiter said. “These are just a few words I can think of to describe who he was. He was one of the best baseball players I’ve ever known and the game of baseball was his life. Every day you could find him hitting soft toss in his garage or out practicing on the baseball diamond. He was always working to get better at the game he loved.”
The project will come at no expense to the district, as the plaque will be funded through community donations.
“As a group of seniors, we would like to be able to raise money and get a plaque made to honor our fellow teammate and classmate on what would have been his senior day this year,” Reiter said.
Bellefonte Area students who have died, Superintendent Michelle Saylor said, are sometimes remembered by a memorial at the school.
Crunick was diagnosed with cancer when he was 14. He died in 2014 at age 15.
“When you hear the word cancer, many negative things come to mind; however, Dylan did not let this disease control his life,” Reiter said. “He still made time for friends, still went to school and got straight As, and still played the game he loved. … Most importantly, was still the same great kid we all came to know.”
In his memory, the DC8 Fund was created to provide financial aid to families of children in the community affected by cancer, and a yearly scholarship to one Bellefonte Area High School student.
And each year since, schools in the Bellefonte Area School District help support the cause.
In October 2014, students at Benner Elementary School participated in the Centre County United Way’s Day of Caring by holding a coin drive to benefit the fund.
They’ve done it every year since.
Staff and students at Bellefonte Area Middle School have also raised thousands of dollars through fundraising efforts at the school, including assemblies and a walk-a-thon.
“Dylan never lost hope, and it was in the way he lived his life that we all look up to him — the way we strive to live our own lives as he did,” Reiter said. “While Dylan may have lost his battle with cancer, his legacy lives on. He made a lasting impact in this community, and there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about or miss my friend and teammate.”