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Memorial planned for slain Perham student

Slain Perham student Tabitha Belmonte and her daughter Emma.1 / 3
Tabitha Belmonte and her daughter Emma, taken from a Facebook page set up in memory of Belmonte.2 / 3
Perham students have set up a memorial for slain classmate Tabby Belmonte outside the Perham High School. Sam Benshoof/Focus.3 / 3

Perham students are preparing to say goodbye to a friend they never expected to lose.

To honor Tabitha Belmonte, a sophomore Perham student who died Monday evening in a murder-suicide near Amor, friends of the 16-year-old are organizing a candlelight vigil, to be held at 9 p.m. tonight on the high school's front lawn.

School administrators are inviting a law enforcement official to address the student body at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning to clear up any rumors that may be circulating, said Perham-Dent Superintendent Tamara Uselman.

The Friday morning assembly will also include time for students to celebrate Belmonte's life. A photo slide show, put together by friends, will be shown, accompanied by some of Belmonte's favorite songs.

"It's a chance to say, 'We're not forgetting about Tabitha,'" Uselman said. "This is healthy for them (the students) to do this."

Students also plan to decorate the trees outside of the school with rainbow ribbons - what friends describe as her favorite color.

A message on the Perham-Dent School District's website says a sign will be created and placed outside of the high school this spring in memory of Belmonte.

The message, written by Uselman, says students are planning to create T-shirts in honor of "Tabby," which they may sell to collect funds for Belmonte's 7-month-old baby, Emma.

A Facebook page has been set up in memory of Belmonte. As of Thursday at 2 p.m., 682 had 'liked' the page.