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Grand Forks teen McCain Endres mourned on one-year anniversary of his death

Grand Forks Central High School juniors Wyatt White and Kaytlin Frisch leave messages for their friend McCain Endres, a classmate who died following a motorcycle accident a year ago Thursday. Area students have penned messages to Endres on a nearby street pole. Darren Gibbins special to the Herald1 / 2
Grand Forks Central High School junior Wyatt White pauses to reflect near the site of the accident that took the life of his friend McCain Endres. Area students have penned messages to Endres on a nearby street pole. Darren Gibbins special to the Herald2 / 2

Grand Forks Central High School junior Kaitlynn Pocrnich found her school finals difficult Thursday on the one-year anniversary of her friend’s death.

“My math final sucked,” she said through tears. “It’s been hard to concentrate.”

McCain Endres, 16, died May 22, 2013, when the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car at the corner of Second Avenue North and North Sixth Street. His friends and members of the community mourned his loss with a series of events, including a vigil at his parents’ house and a 5k run.

Many continue to mourn.

After class ended Thursday, Endres’ closest friends stood at a lamppost near the accident site, a former gathering place for dozens of students to mourn the loss. Nearly all wore a blue shirt, Endres’ favorite color.

In silence and in tears, they read the series of hand-written messages to Endres on the lamppost, with the roar of a few motorcycles passing by. Some sat on a bench near the makeshift memorial, bought by his family in the months following his death.

Inscribed with the phrase “McCain and Friends,” the bench was meant to offer visitors a place to reflect, said his father Tom Endres. On holidays, the family decorates the bench, he said.

“It seems to be such a gathering place for the kids, we thought a bench would be a nice addition,” he said. “It brings us a lot of joy when we see somebody sitting on it.”

Pocrnich said she hadn’t visited the site that often since he died. Sometimes, she stops by after school, she said, “but it’s kind of hard.”

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald.  Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit 

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