Mom of SU student killed in trolley crash: ‘When he was passionate, all cylinders were firing’ | #College. | #Students

To Jan Fischer, skateboarding was just another of her son’s hobbies, even if she wasn’t “thrilled” about it.

Trevor Pierce had so far developed disparate but deep interests. He attended rallies for Andrew Yang, then a presidential candidate, all over New Hampshire, listened to podcasts about the Roman Empire while taking long baths and loved chess.

Skateboarding became just another way for the 18-year-old to discover the world around him, his mom said. His friends at home in Jaffrey, New Hampshire went to a skate park in Peterborough. Pierce brought his skateboard with him when he started college at Syracuse this summer.

“He just wanted to experience everything in life,” Fischer said.

Pierce’s VSCO account, a photography app, was full of pictures of him in Thrasher skateboarding apparel with his skateboard around Syracuse — on a Centro bus, on a parking garage near the Carrier Dome, on South Campus.

On Tuesday, Pierce was skateboarding when he collided with a Syracuse University trolley at the intersection of Comstock and Waverly avenues. The freshman died from his injuries. Police have released few details about the crash.

Pierce is being remembered by family and friends for having a talent for connecting with people. He used his own life experiences ― being raised by a single mother, struggling with ADHD and dealing with his mom’s recent fight with breast cancer — to develop empathy for others, according to family friend Heather Tullio.

A GoFundMe that was set up for Pierce on Thursday afternoon has raised more than $16,000. Friends wrote about Pierce after donating.

The most charismatic person I’ve ever met, one friend wrote after donating.

I spent some of the best weeks of the best summers of my life at (Camp) Wanocksett and the times I was with Trevor are the most memorable, another wrote.

Trevor was one of the kindest and friendliest people I ever knew and without him there are so many memories and friends I wouldn’t have. I love you Flash, another wrote.

“He was passionate,” Fischer said. “And when he was passionate, all cylinders were firing.”

It was Pierce’s gift for public speaking that often drew others in. Around his freshman year of high school, he was given a five-page speech to read at a Boy Scouts charity luncheon. Pierce memorized the whole bit and spoke to the crowd without any notes, his mother said.

He used that gift to make friends at Camp Wanocksett, a Boy Scout camp in New Hampshire. Pierce worked there for eight weeks most summers. He taught courses for some of the younger scouts and a chess course, too.

One of Pierce’s friends Connor Clough said Pierce became known for helping counsel younger scouts who had become homesick.

Pierce would often ask younger scouts who were nervous about being away from home what they hadn’t done at camp yet. Once, a scout told Pierce he hadn’t yet thrown tomahawks, so the three immediately threw tomahawks.

He could connect with adults too. As his mother fought cancer, a teacher and the superintendent of the district Pierce attended took him on a trip to Emerson College. During the car ride, he talked the teacher, a former reporter at the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, into getting him an internship at the local newspaper this summer.

Friends left a memorial Wednesday night at the intersection where first-year student Trevor Pierce, 18, collided with a Syracuse University Trolley and died.

“He could convince anyone to do anything,” said Clough, a freshman at Patrick Henry College in Virginia who came to know Pierce through the Boy Scouts camp.

The two liked to push boundaries, he said. Sometimes they’d jump in a quarry lake near Pierce’s house or “drift” — ride — carts at Target. While drifting carts once, two kids walked up to Clough and Pierce with a children’s toy that played music. The four danced through Target to the music, Clough recalled.

Nearly everyone who was friends with Pierce had a similar story.

There was the time he and friends waited outside of a new Dunkin overnight to get free coffee for a year or the time he and friends wandered to a brewery they’d never heard of and petted horses or the time Pierce went to three Andrew Yang rallies in a day. (Pierce later told his mother Yang knew him by name.)

Even as Pierce found ways to have fun, he buckled down. Pierce used instrumental music to quiet the “never-ending script” ADHD provided his brain while he studied, his mother said. His journalism teacher, Anne Marie Osheyack, an SU alumnus, helped encourage Pierce to apply to SU, where he received a scholarship that covered his tuition, his mother said.

Fischer was battling cancer while Pierce was applying to schools and only found out later that her son had gotten the scholarship, she said. He wasn’t trying to hide anything, just trying to unburden his mom at a difficult time.

This summer, as Pierce was headed to SU and Clough was heading to Patrick Henry, Clough tried to say bye to Pierce.

“’In case we don’t see each other before we go off to school, I love you,'” Clough remembered saying to Pierce. “Goodbye.”

“’No, bro,'” Clough remembered Pierce saying back. “’Don’t say goodbye. We’ll hang out again before we leave. I promise. It’ll be fine, don’t worry.’”

“Then he left and that was the last time I talked to him,” Clough said.

The two did text back and forth. Early in the semester, Clough had to write about a court case for class and knew Pierce had encyclopedic knowledge of the O.J. Simpson case. He called Pierce and asked him for a brain dump on the case.

On Tuesday morning, Pierce texted Clough to tell him he had applied to work at Camp Wanocksett next summer.

Later that night, though, as Tullio and Fischer had a meeting for a new girl scout troop they’d created with help from Pierce, the Jaffrey police called Fischer.

They asked Fischer to come down to their police station. The mother of another scout brought her there and officers told Fischer about the crash and that Pierce had died.

“I don’t know if he had an 18-year-old, ‘I can make this, it’s not that bad.’ I have no idea,” Fischer said. “I have no idea.”

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