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Family, classmates mourn girl who died in North Shore fall

Bailey Belisle

The Wisconsin girl who died in a fall from a North Shore cliff last weekend is being remembered this week as someone known for putting smiles on her classmates’ faces.

Bailey Belisle, 14, had just started her freshman year at Somerset High School in Somerset, Wis., about 25 miles northeast of the Twin Cities. In addition to playing on the school volleyball team, school officials said Belisle demonstrated gifts for music and the arts.

The girl’s death strikes a deep blow in the close-knit school community, of which Belisle had been a member since her days in pre-kindergarten.

“(Her death) has made an impact on many students and staff alike,” Somerset High School Principal Shannon Donnelly said. “It’s definitely a difficult day.”

“In the short time that she was at the high school, you could see her coming down the hall with a huge smile on her face,” Donnelly said, recalling Belisle being surrounded by a large group of friends. “She was kind of magnetic and kids loved being around her.”

Donnelly said Somerset Middle School Principal Sara Eichten recalled how Belisle “had the most beautiful voice.” Counselors were brought to Somerset High School and the middle school on Monday; visitation and a funeral Mass are scheduled to take place in Somerset later this week.

"Bailey will be remembered by the many lives she touched through family, friends and her faith," her family said in an obituary posted Tuesday.

Belisle died in a fall from Palisade Head, northeast of Silver Bay, on Sunday afternoon. She was visiting the popular North Shore landmark with another family, Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said.

Belisle apparently was trying to look over the edge of the cliff to see the water of Lake Superior below when she fell, Johnson said.

Bystanders rappelled down the cliff and performed first aid in an effort to save Belisle. She was airlifted to a Duluth hospital but did not survive her injuries.

Palisade Head is part of Tettegouche State Park and rises about 300 feet above Lake Superior; it's a popular destination for climbers, hikers and other visitors.

“It’s a beautiful place, but you’ve got to be careful where you’re walking and accidents happen,” Johnson said.

The News Tribune contributed to this report.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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