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  Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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xtra xtra!
Forever Sixteen
By Rick Winterson

     A magic person has left us far too soon, and we are the ones who are poorer for her departure.  Elisa Santry was smart, loving, cheerful, and always adventurous.

     Elisa Santry was a premature baby.  Perhaps her early birth symbolized her whole life.  One of Elisa’s most striking characteristics was her ability to come up with an idea and run with it on her own. As she grew, she developed many interests, but there was a thread – a love of nature – that ran through her life.

     Elisa was active from the beginning – a modern young girl who loved sports and activities.  She played soccer at five, performed in school plays, and became a cheerleader.  In a few years, she began studying ballet.  But the schoolwork was always first.  Elisa was a really good student.

     When she was five, Elisa took her first hike.  It was to the top of the Blue Hill Observatory Tower.  See her picture taken in the observatory tower.  It combines an impish smile with a “See how well I did” expression.

     Elisa visited her oldest brother, Michael, in San Francisco when she was eleven.  The trip involved innumerable experiences, ranging from pushup contests to splatters of purple hair gel all over the bathroom.  She saw sea lions and deer in Monterrey; she walked the Pinnacle National Monument.  The photographs show how she was growing and maturing.

     Elisa was strong in mathematics and the sciences.  She excelled at the Harbor School, the charter school that occupies the old M.R.M. School.  On her own, she took the exams and got into the O’Bryant High School of Mathematics and Science.  That she did well in her technical courses goes without saying. 

     In addition, Elisa aced her course in Creative Writing.  Clearly, she was a multi-talented, multi-level young woman.  Her career plans weren’t yet formed, but at one time or another, she had considered becoming a veterinarian, a pediatrician, a singer, or an actress.

     Family mattered to Elisa.  Last year, she set up a “Spring Fiori” – a Spring Flowers party.  Flowers adorned the house and deck.  She and her friend, Heather, helped her adored nephew and nieces, Kevin, Jenna, and Ka-Leigh, plant flowers all over the backyard.  And there was always time to revisit the Blue Hills when brother Michael came in from the West Coast.  Take a good long look at the picture of willowy, beautiful Elisa, now 15, standing in the waters of Ponkapoag.

     Elisa died during an Outward Bound expedition in the canyons of Utah.  The heat was infernal; an injury to another member split the expedition in two.  The exact details of what finally happened to her may never be entirely clear.

     Her mother, Elisa Woods, and her family are mourning.  They can only hope for some kind of closure to this tragedy.  We all mourn at the passing of one so young, so promising.  It’s time to bring her memory home.

     Farewell and Godspeed, Elisa.  Your memory will be forever fresh.  Forever sixteen.

     There is presently a memorial fund being set up at the Mt. Washington Bank in Elisa Santry's name.  Please make your donation in Elisa's name and send it to Mt. Washington Bank, 430 west Boradway, South Boston, MA  02127.  Also, there is a Memorial Scholarship fundraiser being planned for the near future. 

     SBOL will keep you informed.



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A five-year-old Elisa in the observation tower at the top of the Blue Hills.

Curious Elisa examining a geology exhibit at the California Academy of Science.

Elisa, now a young lady, reflected in Ponkapoag Bog in the Blue Hills Reservation.

Lost in a book - "Bunnicula", indeed!