HANFORD — Greg Henry, 51, principal at Sierra Pacific High School, died Monday.
According to a press release from the Kings County Sheriff's Office, the department had received information Monday that Henry was "distraught… and possibly suicidal." The sheriff's office reported that shortly after the information on Henry was received, Hanford Police officers found the principal dead from a "self-inflicted gunshot wound" on Monday north of Hanford in Kings County.
Hanford Joint Union High School District Superintendent Bill Fishbough issued a statement on Tuesday saying that counseling services are available at Sierra Pacific for students and staff.
“We are shocked and saddened by Mr. Henry’s death and our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time,” Fishbough said. “As principal, he interacted with many staff members and students every day and this loss to our school family will be felt deeply."
Students and staff wore pink, Henry’s favorite color according to students, on Tuesday in memory of him.
“Pink is such a bright color,” said junior J.C. Roa. “That’s how [Henry] was all the time.”
The idea to wear pink circulated among students on Monday night on social media sites like Twitter and Snapchat after the news of the principal's death became public.
He said Henry made students feel welcome and always greeted them in the morning when they arrived on campus.
Henry took over as principal at Sierra Pacific in July 2015 after serving as the school’s vice principal since October 2014. Previous to working at Sierra Pacific, Henry served as the principal of Pioneer Middle School for 10 years.
Before that, he was a math teacher at Hanford West as well as the school’s boys water polo coach from 1999-2004.
J.C. said students who had him as the principal at Pioneer Middle School were happy to see him transfer to Sierra Pacific in 2014 as the vice principal.
“I am going to miss the atmosphere he brings to the campus,” J.C. said. “He was always smiling and joking around.”
Junior Isac Peralta said Henry encouraged him to do better when he was struggling to keep his grades up last school year.
“He was a really great man,” Isac said.
Sierra Pacific senior Meztli Curiel said he motivated her to take AP calculus this year.
“He made me want to do better in all aspects of my life,” she said.
Pioneer Middle School officials also asked students and staff to wear pink on Tuesday in memory of Henry.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time,” said Pioneer Middle School Principal Jamie Rogers.