Paying homage to the life of one of her New York fans on Wednesday night, Hailee Steinfeld, hit the stage at a candlelight vigil for 16-year-old Leah Kuczinski, who died recently in a tragic go-karting accident.
Steinfeld, who was the teen’s favorite singer, was invited to the vigil via Twitter by Tiffany Salcedo, a teacher at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, which Kuczinski attended. Her tweet garnered over 1,900 retweets and within a couple of hours, contact with Steinfield's manager who said the Pitch Perfect 2 star would be there.
@HaileeSteinfeld Hi Hailee! We lost one of our students this weekend in a tragic accident. She loved you and your music and was supposed to go to your July concert 💙 we would love for you to come to her vigil tomorrow at @NHPGladiators if possible!! We love you and our Leah— Tiffany Salcedo (@Srta_Salcedo) February 27, 2018
i’m so unbelievably happy this was able to happen. everyone in our community worked so hard to make sure this would be possible. i couldn’t be more happy to be apart of New Hyde Park. Leah would have loved this💙 i hope you were jamming out with us up there in heaven Leah. thank you so much for coming @haileesteinfeld this is amazing. 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋 #flyhighleah #thisisforyouleah #weloveyouleah
Kuczinski, who has also been remembered on a GoFundMe page as, “beautiful, kind hearted and caring individual,” was a sophomore cheerleader and field hockey player. Kuczinski's GoFundMe page which was started to help raise money to help her family cover her unexpected funeral expenses, has hit $90,000 overwhelming its modest goal of $15,000 boosted, no doubt, by Steinfeld fans and other online well-wishers.
Friends and family in attendance at the vigil were touched by the generosity of the songstress:
Thank you @HaileeSteinfeld for being such a class act and showing your support for my amazing student Leah! And being there for her best friends!! I know she’s smiling down on you! May God Bless you always!! @NhpAthletics @NHPGladiators @Newsday @News12LI pic.twitter.com/53XpKJC2Gf— Tiffany Salcedo (@Srta_Salcedo) March 1, 2018
Balloons can be seen (on a second Instagram video) being released at the vigil honoring Kuczinski, symbolic of her young spirit being released to fly free.
Steinfeld, tweeted on Thursday sharing a photo of a lighted message board with the phrase “Fly High Leah” on it:
In a video on Newsday's website the 21-year-old, pop star and actress opens by thanking Kuczinski's friends and family for inviting her to be there and to perform before singing an acoustic version of her song, Starving:
Thank you guys all so much for asking me to come here and honor Leah. You all had so many incredible things to say about her, I really would have loved to have met her. I know she was supposed to come to my show this summer, so I wanted to come here and sing a song for her.