On Thursday, May 10, a Memorial Service was held for senior Terence Tsao on the south side of Pier 25. The memorial service, commemorating Tsao’s tragic death in a car accident earlier this year, was intended for Tsao’s family and the Stuyvesant community to pay their respects.
In an email interview, Tsao’s father, Dr. Ting Man Tsao, said his family “wanted to celebrate Terence’s love for nature, and his growing interest in marine biology for the betterment of the earth and people’s lives.”
Last year, Tsao took part in the Hudson River Research Project led by Biology teacher Dr. Jonathan Gastel. Tsao’s connection to the Hudson River was why his family decided to spread his ashes there. “Pier 25, specifically the floating dock there, was the site where Terence and his teammates used to conduct water survey and other environmental research,” Dr. Tsao said.
The event started with Terence’s father reading out some of the lab reports Terence had been working on. This was meant to show Terence’s attention to detail and his dedication to environmental science.
Dr. Tsao spread Terence’s ashes in the Hudson River. He took an NYPD boat to the middle of the Hudson River escorted by NYPD officers. He then spoke to many teachers and students who had known Terence from school.
“We think he would like a portion of himself to return to the river, near where he used to have fun and collaborate with his friends and teachers, and flow to where his spirit would take him,” said Dr. Tsao.
Dr. Tsao said that the service gave Terence’s family “some sort of closure because Terence’s ashes had been placed in the funeral home for several months already. [The family] wanted the ceremony to take place in a warmer season by the water and so [they] had waited since mid-December”.
Dr. Tsao said that when he was often cynical about major problems the world has, Terence was always optimistic about finding a solution; often saying “I believe I will come up with a solution.”
Family, friends, and teachers alike appreciated the memorial service. Dr. Tsao was happy with how it turned out. “I didn’t exactly know how to plan or lead this kind of ceremony. However, it unfolded naturally [because] we could feel the sincerity of the participants,” Dr. Tsao. “Altogether, it was a peaceful and meaningful event to commemorate Terence.”