Central Elementary remembers Newtown shooting victims

Published 10:15 am Thursday, December 27, 2012

Students and faculty members gathered at Central Elementary School to release balloons in honor of the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The students and faculty of Central Elementary School in Hayneville (Mosses) paid tribute last Friday to the faculty and students of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. who were shot and killed on Friday, Dec. 14 with a balloon release/roll call of victims program entitled “Central Elementary Remembers 12.14.12.”

As Central Elementary Principal Tara Green and Instructional Assistant Jason Seaborn called the roll of victims, students released a white balloon shaped like a star for each.

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A poem entitled “Tiny Angels” was read by fifth grade students Malcolm Hayes, Carles Medlock and Kay-Niga Smith.

Green said the remembrance was the result of her presenting the idea to teachers and staff and their sharing with her the fact that students were questioning things.

“So, we decided to put together this event in remembrance of lives lost,” Green said.

A-Nekia Surles, a fifth grade student at Central Elementary, said she felt the pain of the Connecticut event.

“I think it was awful, and I felt sad, and I felt bad about them being hurt, because just like they are children, we are too, even though we go to different schools,” she said.

“It was good because everybody cared about the other children, not just about themselves,” she said about the remembrance held at her school Friday.

Malcolm Hayes, another fifth grader, said he felt the children in Connecticut “did not deserve” what happened to them.

“They were too young, and they had a whole life in front of them, like they could have been a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher,” he said.

He said the program Friday was “great, because it celebrated the ones who died.”

Kay-Niga Smith, a fifth grader and one of the poem readers, also felt the pain of the Connecticut event.

“I thought it was a bad thing because the man didn’t have to come in school and kill kids,” she said.

She also felt the program held at her school Friday was good.

“I felt it was really good and it was a good thing that we did for the kids that got killed,” Smith said.

“I think it was really, really, truly unfortunate that many lives were lost, especially the students’ lives who were so, so young… They had their whole lives ahead of them,” said Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd.

He attended Friday’s remembrance at Central Elementary.

“It’s just really a tragic event,” Boyd said of the lives lost in Connecticut.

He said that was the kind of event everyone has to be vigilant of in both the community and schools.

“We’ve already done some things, we’ve looked over our safety plans,” he said of Lowndes County School System’s efforts to prevent such events as that which resulted in the loss of lives of students and teachers.

“I’ve talked to the board about our safety plans and where they are today. We feel that our plans that we have in place are solid here. We have exercises with our teachers and our students on a regular basis. We are trying to be as prepared as we can be, but things do happen,” Boyd said.

The roll call of children killed included Charlotte Bacon, 6, Daniel Barden, 7, Olivia Engel, 6, Josephine Gay, 7, Dylan Hockley, 6, Madeleine F. Hsu, 6, Catherine V. Hubbard, 6, Chase Kowalski, 7, Jesse Lewis, 6, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6, James Mattioli, 6, Grace McDonnell, 7, Emilie Parker, 6, Jack Pinto, 6, Noah Pozner, 6, Caroline Previdi, 6, Jessica Rekos, 6, – Avielle Richman, 6, Benjamin Wheeler, 6, and Allison N. Wyatt, 6.

The roll call of adults killed included – Rachel Davino, behavioral therapist, Dawn Hochsprung, principal, Anne Marie Murphy, volunteer, Lauren Rousseau, un timed substitute, Mary Sherlach, school psychologist, Victoria Soto, first grade teacher.

“Boys and girls, as we prepare to go home for the Christmas holidays, we remember the 26 lives of those individuals that were lost last Friday. There were 12 girls who lost their lives and eight boys along with six adults,” Green told those in attendance.

Note: The names of the victims in this article are spelled based on media reports.