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‘You always knew he was there.’ Loved ones remember Kellenberg Memorial HS student

Christopher Battaglia, 17, unexpectedly passed away Sunday. People wrapped around the block Thursday evening for both viewings.

Jon Dowding

Jan 19, 2024, 3:19 AM

Updated 182 days ago

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Hundreds of people in Floral Park waited in the cold to say goodbye to a beloved Kellenberg Memorial High School student.
Christopher Battaglia, 17, unexpectedly passed away Sunday. People wrapped around the block Thursday evening for both viewings.
News of his passing weighed heavy on students all week. Senior Nicole Abbenda said she couldn’t believe it when she heard the news.
"He was just so welcoming to everyone in the school. You never heard anything bad about him,” she said. "We're one big family. It's like we lost a family member. The first day back, it was silent. You heard the footsteps in the hallways and that never happens at Kellenberg. The silence was loud."
Principal Brother Kenneth Hoagland taught Chris and said he always had an endearing presence.
"He was quiet on the one hand, but you always knew he was there. So he had a presence, but never really looked for the spotlight."
His varsity football coach Eric Meisse said he'll always remember Chris’s dedication to the game, even when he was injured all season.
"He refused to sit out. He refused to come out,” said Meisse. “We tried to get him to heal up back to 100% and he wouldn't hear of missing a day, let alone a week, of practice."
Lacrosse coach Kevin Fechtmann said Chris embodied the definition of a supportive teammate.
"He always knew how to make everybody laugh,” said Fechtmann. “Whether it was during the stretching line in practice, whether it was in the locker room on the walk to the field, he was always trying to [be] pretty uplifting."
J Fallon's Tap Room held a fundraiser and offered food for those coming from the wake.
The staff asked for donations to help the family.
It's clear the community won't have to process this loss alone.
"If it weren't for our faith,” said Brother Hoagland, “how do we get through situations like this?"
Chris will be laid to rest Friday in Westbury. His family asked for donations to be made in his name to Kellenberg Memorial High School.


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