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Esko High School mourns loss of senior student

Many students wore blaze orange to Esko's Lincoln High School today in memory and honor of their classmate Jordan L. Tucker. Tucker, 18, died unexpectedly in his sleep early Saturday. "Today probably 60 or 70 percent of our student body are dress...

Jordan Tucker
Jordan Tucker

Many students wore blaze orange to Esko's Lincoln High School today in memory and honor of their classmate Jordan L. Tucker.

Tucker, 18, died unexpectedly in his sleep early Saturday.

"Today probably 60 or 70 percent of our student body are dressed in blaze orange in his honor," high school Principal Greg Hexum said. "Jordan was one of the founders of our blaze orange Fridays here during deer hunting."

Hexum, who had Tucker as a student before becoming principal, remembered Tucker as a popular student.

"He was the kind of guy who crossed a lot of social boundaries and got along with a variety of people," Hexum said. "He had a low-keyed, laid-back demeanor that appealed to a lot of people. In addition to that he was a real gentleman. He could get along with anybody. That was very much Jordan."

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Tucker was an honor student, with a 3.4 grade point average as a senior. In addition, he was the goalie for the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton varsity soccer team.

"Until his senior year, he was the consummate back-up goalie," Hexum said. "There always seemed to be one person in front of him. He waited his turn patently, was a supportive team member. You never had any playing-time issues with him. He was a great teammate."

Tucker used his time as starting goalie. He was named all-conference goalie and played in the regional all-star game.

"His last half of soccer was shut-out soccer," Hexum said. "As a goalie, that's a big deal."

Almost all of the school's students learned of Tucker's death Saturday or Sunday, Esko Superintendent Aaron Fischer said. Many of the students arrived at school Monday dressed up in honor of Tucker.

"Something special for him was to wear nice clothes and dress up," Fischer said. "So they dressed up. Most of them wore black in tribute to him."

Tucker's senior class contains 100 students, so everyone knows everyone else. School officials began preparing for Monday as soon as they heard of Tucker's death. Teachers were informed via a telephone calling tree. The district activated its crisis team, establishing a grief center and staffing it Monday with school counselors and four clergy members.

"We had that set up right away in the morning," Fischer said.

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When teachers arrived Monday, they were told of what services were available for the students.

"We tried to give them some ideas on how to help the kids deal with this," Fischer said. "It's a traumatic event for everyone."

Fischer described the mood at school Monday as somber.

"There was a lot of sadness," he said. "But having a day in-between certainly helped. A lot of them had Saturday night and all day Sunday to talk and process with family and friends."

Community churches had also been informed of Tucker's death before Sunday services.

"The whole community really came together and did our best to support" the students, Fischer said.

"It's been a couple rough days here, but the students are handling it well," Hexum said.

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