Honoring students lost too soon: Kailey and Avery


Mills students arranged cups in the fence facing the road in honor of Kailey and Avery.

Loss and grief are a part of all our lives, and unfortunately this year, the Lewis Mills community suffered two such tragedies: the deaths of 14-year-old Kailey Prenoveau, a rising sophomore who passed away in August, and Avery Zaleski, 16, a junior who passed away in October. Both were vibrant and cheerful students who were active in school and in the community. As we come to the end of the school year, the Scroll staff gathered memories from Mills students, faculty, and family members of the two girls to paint a picture of the bright, young students that made an inspiring impact on so many.

Kailey’s Memories

Mr. James Mann, the girls volleyball coach, recalled, “What I remember most of Kailey in Kids in the Middle was our small, energetic, and regularly hilarious Day 6 L-Block group. She’d come down

with Molly Torsiello from Mr. Spargo’s room and we’d consistently spend the next 20 minutes laughing. It was a most welcome break in my day every time, and a part of the week I’d always look forward to.”

Mrs. Kristyn Treggor-Horstmann, the choir teacher for Har-Bur and Mills, detailed, “Out of all of the horrendous and isolating parts of the Covid shut-down, one of the most precious memories I have is of Kailey opening herself (and her voice) to me.  I learned more about her in a few months of online school than in four years of middle school chorus.  She was really shy about her singing voice, and never wanted anyone to hear it.  She reluctantly sent me one audio file of her singing, asking me for my opinion.  That opened the flood gates where some of her fear went away and she asked me for song after song to sing and record for me, and by the end of that stretch, I had her singing about 6 different songs… just for me.  I felt so special that she trusted me with something so sacred. I will always remember her beautiful face.  Her sparkles in her eye makeup that distracted me from what she was saying.  Kailey – you will always be a part of my heart.”

Kailey’s mother, Alyssa Prenoveau, shared some memories of her daughter: “Kailey was born September 14, 2006, in Bristol, Connecticut and packed a whole lifetime into her (almost) 15 years. She was welcomed to her family by her

brother, Carsen, and they became fast friends. Her family moved to Saratoga Springs, Utah when she was one, and soon brothers, Ashton, and Lincoln, joined the family. Surrounded by boys, she was deemed ‘the princess,’ an endearing title which she wore well. The consummate big sister, Kailey stepped easily into the role of nurturer and protector. It was evident that she would be able to hold her own in a home full of boys; her facial expressions spoke volumes and her smile could melt any heart. She was enrolled in dance classes and loved to don fancy costumes and high heels, but she also wasn’t afraid to tromp through a muddy pasture in boots while helping her grandpas irrigate. As a young girl, she loved to ride bikes, play on the swings, swim, and play games (to win).

She loved riding horses and swimming with her family. She also loved her puppy, Zoey, cilantro-lime rice, enchiladas, Dr. Pepper, Hot Tamales, Friendly’s Mint Ice Cream, and Ma’s Custard. She loved being a part of the Swim team & the Crew team at Mills. Kailey loved music.  She was our personal DJ and could always be found with at least one ear bud in her ear.  She loved being part of Concert Choir and spent hours walking around the house

singing at the top of her lungs and did not care who heard her. She was kind-hearted and sought to help others – individuals and her community—always knowing exactly what others needed. Above all else, she loved and cherished her family and friends. 


In a single word, Kailey was fierce. She was fiercely competitive, fiercely protective, fiercely sarcastic, and fiercely loving. She is one of the hardest workers we know. She could and would work circles around the boys whether it was yard work, carrying and stacking wood, grocery shopping, cleaning, she did it all. Kailey frequently helped her mom in the kitchen and became quite the accomplished chef. She would make meal, desserts, snacks, muffins, you name it. She liked to play dumb but she was the furthest thing from it. She was an intelligent, beautiful young woman who, in our opinion, was too pure for this world. We love our Kailey and are so grateful for all of our shared memories.  We will FOREVER keep Kailey in our hearts.  We want to thank the Lewis S. Mills community for all the support we have received. “



Remembering Avery

Mrs. Tania McNaboe, a junior/senior English teacher, stated, “In the beginning of this school year, my junior students created images and messages to demonstrate their values. They remained on my bulletin board all year. I remember that Avery made one but asked me if she could re-do it to make it better. I was impressed by her desire to do her best and with her subsequent message. Avery lived her life with gratitude and that’s a wonderful lesson for all of us to learn and practice.”

Jillian Grustas, a sophomore, wrote, “Avery was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Burlington 12 years ago.  For the next four years, we were next-door neighbors and spent many days together.  Some of my favorite memories of us together include making up dances in our backyards, exploring in the woods, creating the Candy Crew (her nickname was Snickers), playing with our American Girl dolls, and riding our scooters up and down our road.  Even though we grew apart when she moved, those memories are something that I will cherish forever.”

Avery’s mother, Sharon Zaleski, reflected on her daughter’s life: “Avery was such a comedian and loved to make people laugh. A memory that her mom has is when she took her older daughter, Ashley, to the high school parking lot to practice driving.  Avery had come along for the ride.  About an hour or so was spent with Ashley practicing how to park and back up.  As Ashley was finishing up, her mom asked Avery if she wanted to give it a try while there.  Never being behind the wheel, she quickly agreed and jumped into the driver’s seat. She took only one spin around the

parking lot, then pulled the car crookedly into a parking spot, threw it into park and said ‘Ok! I think I’m ready for the road!’

Avery loved to travel.  Her dad loved seeing the anticipation and excitement Avery had for traveling.  She really cherished all new experiences in life, always keeping something from her travels she could look back at to remember the great time she had.  Avery started to collect post cards from each place.  The post cards were of the impressive scenery unique to each area or of maps that would detail the local hot spots.  She especially loved the vintage ones and had created a beautiful album of them.  This album is now something to treasure forever.

Avery loved to spend time with family.  Her sister, Ashley, has a favorite memory of Avery from last summer.  Ashley,

 Avery and their cousin, Loren, headed down to the beach for one last beach day before Ashley headed off to college.  They spent the day listening to music, laughing, taking pictures and paddle boarding. The girls spent hours out on the water fooling around and just having a great time. Not wanting the day to end, they stayed on the beach until the sun set. On their way home, the girls stopped at their

 favorite childhood restaurant and continued to laugh and enjoy their time together. That day was one of Ashley’s favorite memories of her sister, as she was able to spend true, genuine time with her before leaving for college.”