• 70°

Ridgecroft honors slain Virginia Tech students, staff

AHOSKIE – Today, we all are Virginia Tech.

In front of a sea of young faces, many adorned in maroon and orange sweatshirts, middle and upper Ridgecroft School students gathered Friday morning to pay tribute to those who died during Monday’s shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.

Led by members of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Student Government Association (SGA), the event took a touching turn as Ridgecroft students Leslie Revelle and Kristen Cayton read, one-by-one, the names of the 32 victims while Sarah Grace Majette lit a candle for each fatality. Kasey Jones and Jo Revelle Murray also assisted in the ceremony by placing 32 orange flowers, one-by-one, into a single vase.

Shirley Lee Spruill of the SGA also offered remarks.

“We need to pick Virginia Tech up and hold them close to our hearts,” Revelle said. “We also need to pray for those who are troubled. We need to wrap our arms around them and hold them close…showing them there is a better way.”

Ridgecroft Headmaster Elton Winslow centered his remarks on the Virginia Tech shooter n 23-year-old senior Cho Seung-Hui.

“This young man is being labeled as evil,” Winslow said. “I cannot make that judgment, but I will say what occurred on Monday in Blacksburg was an evil act.

“Why did he do this,” Winslow continued. “On the news it was stated that he was bullied while attending middle school and high school. Was this the cause of his anger?”

Winslow said he believed that anger had been building for years, finally reaching its boiling point on Monday.

“If a bomb is placed inside a building and it goes off, who do you blame, the bomb squad or the bomb maker,” Winslow asked. “Of course, you blame the bomb maker. The ‘bomb’ that went off Monday morning at Virginia Tech may have started to be assembled 10 years ago when this young man was in middle school where he was bullied and laughed at.”

He referenced that Friday was the eighth anniversary of the Columbine (Colorado) High School massacre where two students, both victims of bullying tactics, shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before, like Cho Seung-Hui, committing suicide.

Winslow drove home his point as he concluded the ceremony by saying, “The bullying has to stop. It’s hurtful. If anything good comes out of this, maybe the bullying will stop.”

What will not stop over the coming years is that 4-16-07 will become a day to remember in the same vein as 9-11-01.