GREATER NEW BEDFORD REGIONAL VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL
1121 Ashley Boulevard • New Bedford, MA • 02745-2496 Tel. 508-998-3321 • Fax 508-995-7268 • www.gnbvt.edu
Preparation • Passion • Perseverance
January 6, 2024
Statement of Michael Watson, GNBVT Superintendent/Director on the Death of Student Jacob Pothier
On Friday night, Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech senior Jacob Pothier, age 18 of New Bedford, died in an automobile accident while traveling in the Town of Dartmouth. On behalf of the entire GNBVT community we extend our heart-felt condolences to his family.
The death of a person so young, no matter the circumstances, is a tragedy. It is the stark reminder of a life not realized. It is the loss of a son to his parents, the loss of a brother to his siblings and the loss of a peer to his friends. We know many members of the GNBVT community currently and in the days ahead may have a difficult time processing the loss of their friend and fellow student. For many of our students this may be the first time they’ve experienced the death of a friend or someone they knew close in age. To assist our students, staff and faculty, we have put in place several mental health counseling services to assist them in their time of grief.
On Sunday from 10am to 1pm, the school will be open for all members of our community who need a safe place to gather and grieve. School administrators, staff and counselors will be available to meet with those who attend and facilitate conversations. Additionally, we will have guidance counselors available to receive phone calls from members of our community who call the school at a special number we’ve set up at 508-998-4698.
On Monday morning beginning at 7am, Reverend David Lima will be at school leading crisis intervention teams to support our students. Rev. Lima has worked for years with various school communities, he ministers to families dealing with violence and trauma and helps lead a volunteer trauma-response initiative. He currently serves as New Bedford Police Chaplin and has been Executive Minister of the Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford since December 2006.
For our faculty and staff, we have arranged for mental health supports through our Employee Assistance program, which they can access as needed.
Today, out of respect for Jacob’s memory and his family, we also cancelled our varsity non-league hockey game for this evening against East Boston High School.
We will share more information with our community as appropriate in the coming days.
Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech is one community, and together we will support each other in the days ahead.
Michael P. Watson,
Proudly Serving the Towns of Dartmouth and Fairhaven and the City of New Bedford