BC and Hamagrael mourn passing of recent elementary student

The Bethlehem Central School District and Hamagrael Elementary School are mourning the loss of recent Hamagrael student Derek Soto Davila. Hamagrael families were notified of Derek’s passing in a letter today from the school’s principal, Ian Knox. Text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Hamagrael Families,

It is with profound sadness that I am writing to inform you about a recent loss to our school community. Derek Soto Davila, who had been enrolled as a student at Hamagrael until late last year, passed away peacefully in his sleep over the weekend, according to his family. As many of you may be aware, as a third-grader in 2020-21, Derek was diagnosed with a rare progressive genetic disorder. For anyone that knew Derek knew him as a curious and bright child who loved dancing and geography and who always made a tremendous impact on everyone he met.

While it is important to respect each family’s privacy, we also felt it was important to communicate with you at this juncture so that you have the information you need as parents to answer your child’s questions if they arise. This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns and questions for our entire school, especially our students. Our team here at Hamagrael is here to help with the needs of our students, parents and school community at difficult times such as this. We have counselors available for any student who may need or want help or any type of support surrounding this loss. Additional resources for families who want to discuss this loss with their children at home can be found here.

As a school community, we are in the beginning stages of planning a remembrance in Derek’s honor. If you are looking for ways to help support Derek’s family during this difficult time, please feel free to reach out to me or our school social worker, Deb Lanoue. Services will be held on Monday, October 4th, 4pm – 7pm and Tuesday, October 5th, 10am at Applebee Funeral Home.


Ian Knox
Hamagrael Elementary Principal