Liberty remembers Hunter and Gavin


Olentangy Liberty High School students will honor the memory of two classmates who were killed in a car crash this summer.

Gavin D. Schlotterbeck, 17, and Hunter D. McClelland, 17, both of Powell, died in July, much to the shock McClleand’s childhood friend Allissa Thornton.

“I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. My heart (was) just completely crushed,” Thornton said.

The Liberty cheerleader helped organize a way for the school to start the year united, remembering the students by blowing bubbles at 7 p.m. Friday when the school’s first football game of the season begins.

“We were going to do a balloon release, but we thought Hunter and Gavin were such special and unique people that we wanted to do something unique for them,” she said.

She and other students decorated about 2,500 bottles of bubbles with pink and blue ribbons, McClelland’s and Schlotterbeck’s favorite colors, respectively, at The Bounce Club on Presidential Parkway in Powell. They plan to sell the bubbles from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for donations to fund a permanent memorial to the two students at Liberty High School.

The memorial may be a tree or a bench, Thornton said. “We’re not sure of a definite location,” she said.

Thornton said the McClelland and Schlotterbeck families are excited about the plans. The two families are expected to attend Friday evening’s game.

“Obviously, they’re going through a really tough time now and we’re trying to give them their space and privacy,” Thornton said. “We’re here for them.”

Thornton said the memorial event will provide closure for the school.

“It’s a good way to start off our season united as a team and as a school and community,” she said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported that the two-vehicle crash occurred July 17 on Africa Road in Berlin Township. Schlotterbeck was driving northbound in a 2003 Toyota Camry that went off the right side of the road, over-corrected and went left of center where it was struck on the passenger side by a 2015 Jeep Wrangler. McClelland was a passenger.

“He is the son any parent would want to have,” Stacy Schlotterbeck, Gavin’s mother, told The Gazette that week.

“Her smile lit up an entire room and she made everything fun. She was beautiful, fun-loving, determined and creative with a strong moral compass. She knew right from wrong and chose the right,” said Stephanie McClelland, Hunter’s mom.

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Olentangy students, from left, Allissa Thornton, Emily Beem, Hailey Main, and Faith Crow decorate bottles of bubbles with pink and blue ribbons at the Bounce Club in Powell. The bubbles will sold for a donation Friday before the season’s first football game in memory of Olentangy Liberty High School students Gavin D. Schlotterbeck, 17, and Hunter D. McClelland, 17, who died in a car crash on July 17. Proceeds will benefit a permanent memorial at the high school.
http://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2017/08/web1_DSC_0054.jpgOlentangy students, from left, Allissa Thornton, Emily Beem, Hailey Main, and Faith Crow decorate bottles of bubbles with pink and blue ribbons at the Bounce Club in Powell. The bubbles will sold for a donation Friday before the season’s first football game in memory of Olentangy Liberty High School students Gavin D. Schlotterbeck, 17, and Hunter D. McClelland, 17, who died in a car crash on July 17. Proceeds will benefit a permanent memorial at the high school. Brandon Klein | The Gazette
Students pay tribute to fallen classmates

By Brandon Klein

bklein@delgazette.com

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.