Many Islanders were in mourning this week after a regional high school senior was killed last Friday in an early morning car accident in Chilmark.

Jake S. Baird, 17, of Oak Bluffs, died from injuries sustained when the 1994 Chevrolet Blazer he was driving crashed on Middle Road near Tea Lane, according to Chilmark police.

Scene of accident became impromptu memorial this week. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Two passengers were treated at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for injuries that were not life threatening. The passengers were both teenagers, police said, a 19-year-old male from Aquinnah and 16-year-old female from Oak Bluffs. The names have not been released.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Massachusetts state police.

The loss rippled across the Vineyard, where Mr. Baird was an honor roll student and aspiring auto mechanic nearing graduation, a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), a skilled improv actor, brother, son, grandson and friend.

Flowers, notes and pictures were left at the accident site and on a fence at the high school. During the week a sacred fire burned at the Aquinnah home of Jason and Jessie Little Doe Baird, Jake’s uncle and aunt. A tribal ritual, the fire was tended around the clock with family and friends visiting and offering blessings to the fire.

On Thursday afternoon friends and family members filled the Agricultural Hall for visiting hours. Among the cars parked outdoors was a truck from Vineyard Gardens, where Mr. Baird worked summers and weekends for the last few years.

“We all loved him,” Vineyard Gardens lead foreman Jeremiah Brown said. “We really enjoyed him and everyone who worked with him really enjoyed him. He was a very polite, humble young man . . . we’re all kind of shocked.”

Jake Baird.

At the high school, students, teachers and staff also spent the week coming to terms with a sudden loss.

“It’s been very sad,” school principal Sara Dingledy said Thursday. While some knew him better than others, she said “all the students are affected when there’s a loss in the community.”

There was no school last Friday due to teacher professional development, but teachers largely stopped their work Friday afternoon and the high school became a gathering place, Ms. Dingledy said.

“A significant number of students came through,” she said. Throughout the weekend different pockets of students continued to gather, the principal said, from all the places where he had connections, including the auto mechanic program at the high school, the WIMP and IMP improv troupes, and Alex’s Place, the teen center at the YMCA.

Midterm exams were postponed on Tuesday, the first school day after the accident. “It was respectful and the right thing to do,” Ms. Dingledy said. “You just want a social center, which is school, to see each other and support each other.”

She said the loss has been felt in different ways, from students who knew Mr. Baird well to those who knew him slightly but still felt the loss. “We just wanted to provide opportunity across the range to process what they’re feeling,” she said. Some students wrote or shared stories. Others reached out to the 16-year-old passenger, also a high school student. “The students were amazing about coming together and showing support for her,” Ms. Dingledy said.

Students decorated high school fence with expression of remembrance. — Mark Alan Lovewell

As principal, she said she is not able to form deep connections with all students. “Certain pockets of students you get to know better,” she said. “He was one of those students . . . he was a kind person, always looking to make other people comfortable, just a big heart.”

Last Thursday, the day before he died and the last day of the semester, Mr. Baird participated in a sending-off ceremony with teachers and early graduates from Project Vine, the school’s alternative program. Mr. Baird was set to begin work study next semester.

His teachers remembered him as full of potential: practical and driven, a quietly talented writer, a dedicated auto student, and sharp and inquisitive in math and science. At the sending-off ceremony he received the Renaissance Man Award for being a “skilled mechanic with cars, words and numbers.”

In the science classroom this week Anna Cotton, Project Vine department chairman and Mr. Baird’s science teacher, brought out a robot he’d programmed in one of her classes. She said he went above and beyond what the assignment called for.

“He really just taught himself in one class period or less how to do programming,” she said. Once he mentioned a video game he was playing in his free time. She later realized it was a detailed space game, challenging enough to be used in physics classes. “He was very creative but also really engaged. Curious, but not obvious about it,” Ms. Cotton said.

Mr. Baird hoped to go to trade school for diesel technology. Margaret D’Angelo, his math teacher, remembered him coming down the hall from automotive classes with his hands completely black. As a student, “he would question and challenge constantly,” she said.

“He was a natural who could look at something, take it apart, tell you what everything did, and then put it all back together,” his automotive teacher, Ken Ward, said in an email. “Jake touched the lives of many students and teachers during his time at the high school.”

Accident occurred off Middle Road in Chilmark early last Friday. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“Not every senior is ready to go out into the world, and he really was,” Ms. Cotton said.

Departing Project Vine seniors each choose a book to leave on a legacy tree bookshelf. Mr. Baird chose The Giver by Lois Lowry and wrote a message on the cover page. “I’m leaving this book with Project Vine in hopes that people realize sharing is more valuable than keeping — money, thoughts, food, feelings,” he wrote. “This book helped me see that by sharing, you can accomplish more with other people than keeping to yourself. I hope this book helps you realize that giving is better than receiving.”

“He was just starting to realize his impact,” said Ms. Cotton. “That to me is what’s so sad.”

Ms. Dingledy said high school counselors are making time to meet with students as needed, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. The Island Counseling Center is also working with the high school to make counselors available, and the guidance department will accommodate students who need additional time for exams or other help.

“I’m sure over the course of the next few weeks we’ll find additional ways to celebrate his life,” Ms. Dingledy added. “I’m sure in time the high school will celebrate him throughout the year and at graduation.”

Holly Pretsky and Bill Eville contributed reporting.