MASSAPEQUA, New York (WABC) -- Family, friends, students and staff gathered to say goodbye to beloved Farmingdale High School band director Gina Pellettiere Tuesday.
Pellettiere was killed Thursday in route to Farmingdale's annual band camp trip to Pennsylvania when the charter bus careened off I-84 in Orange County. She died along with retired teacher and beloved chaperone, Beatrice Ferrari.
The 43-year-old Massapequa mother and Farmingdale band director leaves behind a 2-year-old son.
"Ms. P," as she was affectionately known by her students, spent more than a decade directing the band program at Farmingdale and helped to build it from the ground up. The Farmingdale marching band is now over 300 members strong.
Under her leadership, the Farmingdale wind ensemble earned ratings of 3 Golds and 10 Gold with distinctions at the highest level of the New York State School Music Association.
"Her support of these students-- it transcends the music on the paper every day, and she was the role model that a lot of music educators strive to be," said Jasmine Rodriguez, Pellettiere's mentee.
All across Long Island, students and educators wore green, Farmingdale High School's color, in solidarity.
In lieu of flowers, Pellettiere's family is asking mourners to donate to the Farmingdale High School music program.
Pellettiere's funeral is scheduled for Thursday morning at our Lady of Lourdes in Massapequa Park.