Hailee Steinfeld honors late NHP fan at school vigil

Rebecca Klar
Actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld tweeted after attending a vigil for a 16-year-old New Hyde Park Memorial student who died over February break. (Photo courtesy of Hailee Steinfeld via Twitter)

Singer Hailee Steinfeld made an appearance at a vigil on Wednesday for a New Hyde Park Memorial High School sophomore, Leah Kuczinski, who died over February break.

Kuczinski, a cheerleader and junior varsity field hockey captain, turned 16 this month, according to Newsday, which reported that she was killed on Thursday in a go-kart accident at the Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter.

Tiffany Salcedo, a Spanish teacher at New Hyde Park Memorial, tweeted on Wednesday morning asking Steinfeld to visit the vigil in honor of her late fan.

The 21-year-old singer and Academy Award-nominated actress stopped by the vigil and spoke to Kuczinski’s friends, family and classmates.

Steinfeld asked the crowd to sing a song with her in honor of Kuczinski, according to Newsweek, who was supposed to attend her concert in July.

“You all had so many incredible things to say about her, I really would have loved to have met her,” Steinfeld said in videos of her appearance according to Newsweek.

On Thursday morning, Steinfeld tweeted in honor of her late fan.

Fellow sophomore and friend of Kuczinski, Vanessa Tewes, told Newsday the vigil was “really amazing.”

“For a while, it was hard to believe she was gone, but this has put me at peace,” Tewes said. “I’m so impressed with the way so many people have come together.”

In a statement, Sewanhaka Superintendent Ralph Ferrie said the school is mourning the loss.

“On behalf of the entire Sewanhaka Central High School District community, we wish to extend our sincerest condolences to her family and friends as they mourn this inexplicable loss,” Ferrie said.

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