By KAITLYN NAPLES
A recent graduate of Bristol Central High School is being remembered through a variety of ways, after he was fatally stabbed last Saturday just after midnight at a house party.
Joseph (Joey) Klett, 19, is remembered as a student who could be friends with anyone of any grade and social group in high school, would make others laugh and was in the process of entering the military before he passed away.
Bristol Central English teacher and drama Advisor Lindsey DiPietro said Klett was her student and ultimately her friend, even after he graduated high school.
“He really wanted to make something of himself and wanted to prove that he could be someone,” DiPietro said in an email interview, after stating that Klett had recently gave her an updater on his enlistment status into the military. “I’m so sad that he never got that chance.”
Klett had joined the theater program as an independent study, where he helped to build sets for productions.
DiPietro said Klett had made new friends while being in the theater program, and was able to “open himself up to a world that he never expected to be a part of.” She said even after graduation he would stop by to help over the summer and fall.
According to police, Klett was stabbed at a house party on Irving Street last Saturday. He passed away at Bristol Hospital as a result of his wounds. On Sunday, police said the suspect had been arrested after a motor vehicle stop in High Point North Carolina.
Joshua Daniels, 26, of 24 Conlon St., is being charged with the murder of Klett and was being held in North Carolina until he was extradited to Connecticut.
The High Point North Carolina Police Department contacted Bristol police at around 2 p.m. on Jan. 26 to notify them Joshua Daniels had been arrested.
A vigil was held Monday evening to remember Klett, and DiPietro said the theater department already has plans in place to continue the memory of Klett. She said he had helped install new seats in the BCHS auditorium over the summer, and said she wants to dedicate a row in his honor. She said she hopes people will contribute to the school’s “Auditorium Renovation Fund” to help accomplish that dedication.
Also, she said last year Klett was given the “‘Technical Theater Award’ for all of his help on the productions and we will now be giving that award in his name to future students who go above and beyond in that area.”
Students are also invited to leave messages to Klett in the theater department’s tech closet backstage, and DiPietro said there will be a large canvas picture of him working on the set of last year’s musical in the lobby.
“We will never forget him. I won’t let anyone who comes into that theater forget him,” she added.
Bristol Central Principal Peter Winninger also sent out a statement to staff members over the weekend, which said, in part, “If you had Joey as a student, or worked with him at all, you know how engaging and personable he was. He could always bring a smile to your face even when he had you aggravated. Joey spent a lot of time working with the performing arts department his senior year helping build sets for productions. It was there that he showed his true colors. Put a set of tools in his had, give him a task and he got after it. He was a good kid.”
DiPietro said she did what she could for him, as a mentor, and said she knew how important that connection was for him, as well as for her.
“My heart is broken. He was so incredibly special to me and to so many,” she said, adding that she was privileged to see all of the emotions of Klett, and said he was always happy on the outside but had a very serious, very caring, and sometimes very sad side. “He was so very special,” DiPietro added.
By KAITLYN NAPLES