G-AHS students reach out to survivors of the the massacre at Virginia Tech

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G-AHS students reach out to survivors of the the massacre at Virginia Tech

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By Liz Vargo The Record Herald
Published: Monday, May 21, 2007 10:08 AM CDT

GREENCASTLE - When Greencastle-Antrim High School sophomore Kristin Reihart saw the massacre unfold at Virginia Tech in April, a chilling realization hit her - it could happen anywhere.

"Virginia Tech was one of the colleges I considered going to," Kristin said. "If it happened two to three years in the future, I could be one of the students affected."

So Kristin and three of her sophomore friends, Samantha Benson, Ashley Alleman and Tyler Sheeley, took it upon themselves to help. The four developed a plan for donations and presented it to high school administrators.

During lunch periods last Friday, today and on Tuesday, the group will collect donations and sell T-shirts to raise money for the victims and relatives affected by the Virginia Tech massacre.

"I can't imagine what they're going through," said Samantha.

Making donations

Any donations will go toward the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. Donations will fund grief counseling and communication with victims of the shootings and their families.

Those who donate a minimum of $1 will receive a white, orange and maroon ribbon in memory of the lives lost at Virginia Tech. The students plan to make all the ribbons.

The group also designed the T-shirts, which can be purchased for $10 apiece. The maroon shirt has orange lettering with the date of the shooting, April 16, 2007, and "Remember Virginia Tech" on the back.

Shirts come in small through extra large.

Kristin said it will take about a week to get the shirts made. Those who ordered T-shirts and received ribbons will wear them on the same day to honor Virginia Tech students and show support.

Creating awareness

Several local schools dealt with serious threats following the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16. Kristin and Samantha said it's scary to think about what could happen at home.

"We're trying to bring awareness. We share in the pain of that community," Kristin said.

"It's scary (when there's a threat) because kids don't know if it's really a threat or not," said Samantha.

The students who threaten others or carry out terrifying events, like that at Virginia Tech, often feel they have no way out, Samantha said. Peer pressure and bullying make them look for another way to cope.

Although G-AHS has not dealt with threats, students said they have seen bullying in the schools.

"It's nothing major, but we want people to realize what happened and how people from that area feel," added Tyler. "We should feel for them."

The students said other organizations raised money for victims, but they noticed nothing had been done at G-ASHS, so they started a fund-raiser themselves.

"It's an amazing thing with the heart of these students," said assistant principal Ed Rife. "They pulled this together themselves. It's not for a class, it's all about making a difference."

By showing their respect, Rife said the students created a way for the Greencastle "family" to help another family in need, he said.

The project

The fund-raising event took about three weeks to plan. Students met with the guidance counselor, then presented the idea to administrators.

Samantha said many teachers commented they were proud the students organized the project on their own. No one used it as class or extra-curricular credit.

T-shirts can be ordered at the high school office, 500 E. H St., or by calling 597-2186.

To donate directly to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, call 1-800-533-1144.

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Original source: <a href="http://www.therecordherald.com/articles/2007/05/21/local_news/news03.txt">http://www.therecordherald.com/articles/2007/05/21/local_news/news03.txt</a>

Licensed under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5</a>

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Liz Vargo / The Record Herald

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2007-05-21

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Brent Jesiek

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eng

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Liz Vargo / The Record Herald, "G-AHS students reach out to survivors of the the massacre at Virginia Tech," in The April 16 Archive, Item #185, http://april16archive.org/items/show/185 (accessed September 2, 2014).