Berks

Benefit game played to honor late Schuylkill Valley student

13-year-old Conner Kleffel died in 2017 accident

ONTELAUNEE TWP., Pa. - It's one thing to remember someone you've lost, but it's an entirely different thing to honor that person through action.

The Schuylkill Valley community knew just what to do in memory of 13-year-old Conner Kleffel.

"It just helps me to know that people haven't forgotten him," said his mother, Nici Kleffel.

"He was a person to look up to, no matter how old you are," shared his girlfriend, Mackenzie Riggins.

Students, teachers, and staff organized basketball games between teachers to raise money for a scholarship fund in Conner's name.

"We decided that we should come together as a community," said Schuylkill Valley senior and student council president Chloe Dracha.

Speaking of knowing just what to do, Conner, a student athlete, did too.

"You didn't really have to tell him what to do. He just knew what to do when it came to sports," said his dad, Bradley Kleffel.

"The teachers enjoy it. It's a little crazy in there. I'm praying for no broken bones," said Nici Kleffel.

One teacher came in with a tune on her mind.

"I actually heard a song on the radio that always makes me think of Conner: Florida Georgia Line - "Let It Be." I heard that before I came here," said Shannon Furst.

And a sister, also with athletic aspirations, is celebrating her 12th birthday, thinking about lessons learned.

"He taught me most everything that I know now," said Brynley Kleffel, "especially when I was younger, with baseball."

The money raised will go to two seniors selected in May for exemplifying the qualities that Conner carried with him.

"Community service, a good leader, just really exemplifying how he felt for his peers," said Nici Kleffel.

Those qualities were exemplified in many that showed up to honor Conner.

"He'd be loving this right now," said Bradley Kleffel. "He's smiling down from heaven right now looking at this, very happy."


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