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Juan Diego student critically injured in school accident

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DRAPER — Within hours of reports that one of their students had been critically injured, a large number of Juan Diego Catholic High School students and staff gathered Friday around the school's grotto to pray.

In unison, they recited the rosary, many with rosary beads in hand to offer their support to freshman Pete Benda.

"It's the way we do things," school spokeswoman Molly Dumas said. "Prayer is something very helpful for us — not only for families, but also students who care very much and want to do something."

The 14-year-old boy, who Dumas said has attended the school since he went to its preschool when it opened in 1999, was working on the set of the school's production of "The Drowsy Chaperone" when he fell. Unified Fire Authority Capt. Cliff Burningham said Benda was on some sort of lift 15 to 20 feet up when he fell, sustaining head injuries and broken bones.

Dumas said a teacher was with Benda at the time. Only Benda was injured, Burningham said.

The teen was transported by ambulance to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. He was in critical condition. Dumas said Benda's family reported that he was stable.

An update on the Juan Diego Facebook page Friday night said Benda had surgery to repair his femur and that his pelvis wasn't broken as originally thought.

We're a faith-based community, so when we have tragedies happen, we all band together.

–Molly Dumas

The Friday night performance of the show was canceled. It was scheduled to continue through Monday, but Dumas said it was unclear whether they would perform Saturday.

After the rosary, Principal Galey Colosimo told those concerned about Benda to look to social media for more information.

"The best thing to do right now is pray. Support your friends, one another, your family," he told those gathered at the grotto.

Benda is a lacrosse player and an "outgoing, great" student, according to Dumas. After the rosary, those present appealed to saints Cecilia, the patron saint of the arts, Sebastian, patron saint of athletics, and the school's patron saint, Juan Diego.

"We're a faith-based community, so when we have tragedies happen, we all band together," Dumas said. "A big part of who we are is being a community — just a gathering of people who all care."

Police are not investigating the incident because it appears to be nothing more than a tragic accident, said Draper Police Sgt. Chad Carpenter. "It's just one of those terrible things that can happen."

Details about the work Benda was doing when the accident occurred were not immediately available Friday.


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