Class of 2011 still strong after shootings

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Class of 2011 still strong after shootings

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By: Jennie Tal

(May 2) Amanda Blevins is just like any other high school senior. She's excited about getting away from home, meeting new people and just enjoying her college experience.

But Blevins won't be just any other college freshman. This fall, the Nelson County native will proudly enroll at Virginia Tech, a university that is still recovering from the most devastating school shooting in modern U.S. history.

"I'm not going to give up just because something bad happened," Blevins said. "I figure that if it happened there once, it's not really likely to happen again."

Only five students have declined Tech's offer of admissions as a direct result of the shootings that happened on Tech's campus on April 16, said Mark Owczarski, director of news and information for the university. Yesterday was the deadline for students to make their admissions decisions.

Even though so few students have openly declined admission because of the shootings, it will be difficult to know exactly how the events of April 16 affected prospective students, said Amy Widner, the public relations coordinator for undergraduate admissions.

Usually, students who decline an offer of admission do not provide an explanation, Owczarski said. But this year, hundreds of students declining Tech's offer have telephoned to explain that they did not make their decision based on the shootings.

Harrison Mohn, a senior at Fort Defiance High School in Augusta County still plans to come to Tech and major in biology. He hopes to study medicine one day.

Mohn chose to apply early decision to Tech and said he didn't think about going anywhere else. He liked the school because it is big, has a pretty campus and is in state. He said he's always wanted to attend Tech and that recent events could not have changed his feelings about the school.

"I'm not really worried about it at all," Mohn said. "I think it could have happened anywhere. It's not something that Tech did wrong."

Since the shootings, the admissions office has tried to stay in touch with prospective students. Mohn said he received an email from the university explaining that everyone there is doing the best they can to make Tech a safe place.

"Basically, it said they were hoping I was still considering going [to Tech] and that I haven't changed my decision," Mohn said.

Blevins received two such messages.

Neither changed their minds.

Widner explained that every year admissions sends emails to students a few weeks before the deadline, reminding students that they need to contact the university by May 1. This year, the email included an acknowledgement of the shootings on campus.

"It was something to acknowledge the fact that we knew that the whole world was talking about what happened," Widner said. "We wanted to communicate with them specifically and let them know that we were mourning but moving forward and if there were any questions to let us know."

Though Blevins didn't contact the university, she said she wonders if security on campus will be increased. She wants to be safe but doesn't want to have to walk through metal detectors to go to class.

Stafford High School senior Marie Williams applied to Tech early decision for architecture and said she is still excited to start school in the fall - maybe even more now.

Owczarski said no students who had already paid the $400 deposit - including those admitted during the early decision process - asked to withdraw their acceptances.

"I think it's great how the student body pulled together after the tragedy, and I know that while everyone is going through a very tough time right now, they will get through it," Williams said.

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Original Source: <a href=http://www.biglicku.com/blu/Stories/StoryDisplayPage.aspx?Title=Class%20of%202011%20still%20strong%20after%20shootings&ID=282> Big Lick U - May 12, 2007</a>

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Jennie Tal

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Big Lick U

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2007-06-28

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Sara Hood

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Chris Winston <Chris.Winston@biglicku.com>

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eng

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Jennie Tal, "Class of 2011 still strong after shootings," in The April 16 Archive, Item #625, http://april16archive.org/items/show/625 (accessed November 24, 2014).