Saint Gertrude High School, Richmond, VA, Summer Alumnae News


Saint Gertrude High School, Richmond, VA, Summer Alumnae News


Dear Saint Gertrude Family,

When I was asked to write a letter on behalf of our alumnae sisters at Virginia Tech, emotions at every level filled my heart and mind. There are no words to describe the events of April 16th nor are there appropriate words to share how your support helped each of us to deal in our own way with the days that followed.

I speak for all of us when I say that the outpouring of love and concern was undeniably the strength behind our personal ways of coping and our ability to remain strong for all who needed us then and for all who need us now. The spirit of St. Gertrude High School emerged at a level that was both unbelievable and phenomenal ... the photo taken in the gymnasium is just one example; your e-mails, cards, and calls were yet another.

The insert below was taken from a note that I had sent to family and friends in the early days, which continues to best describe the feelings that we faced and ultimately had to accept in the aftermath:

"For those of you who watched the convocation on TV, it was perhaps your first "real" emotional connection to the tragedy of seeing your beloved alma mater in pieces. You were able to sit amongst your Virginia Tech family and feel the personal impact that this devastation created, while celebrating together in the true spirit of Ut Prosim. For those of you who did not go to Virginia Tech and may never have really thought too much about it prior to Monday, you can now call yourselves Hokies for you have shared with us and were able to feel the pain and strength of our ---your--- Hokie Nation. I was merely a symbol of the love that you feel for Virginia Tech and your deep emotions for our shared loss. Seeing me, someone you have a bond with, on national television allowed you to grieve at another level, one that I know many of us unconsciously resisted for that would mean admitting what had happened was for real. It was."

Yes, it was definitely real. That reality grew even stronger when it was discovered that one of our SGHS alumnae was personally involved. We were all relieved when word was shared that she was in good condition at the local hospital, went home to Richmond to recuperate, and then returned to Virginia Tech the following week to continue with her classes.

As a faculty member at the university and a St. Gertrude alumna, it was important to me that all of the women on campus know that they have someone here for them and thus, our first SGHS-VT reunion took place. Amidst classes, exams, and students leaving for the summer, we were able to organize a small pizza gathering. Together we walked down the halls of both SGHS and Virginia Tech, sharing stories and camaraderie. At the conclusion, a unanimous decision was made that we would gather together again in the fall and welcome our newest SGHS alumnae Hokies. I couldn't have asked for a more special celebration of life than this.

With summer rapidly approaching, the campus starting to thin out, and memories of a day that will never be forgotten still vivid in our minds, know that you were all the reason for the Hokie hope that the country bestowed upon us. Through your love and expressions of compassion, our healing continues. As shared in the conclusion of my note to family and friends, "Hearing from you all, many of whom I haven't spoken with in years, has been so reassuring to me that although time and distance may separate us, our hearts remain united through all that we shared during our time here, together. You have all brought me so much happiness over the years. In turn, please let this note return that emotion at a time when --- We ARE Virginia Tech! And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand." Thank you, St. Gertrude High School, from YOUR Hokie Nation.

~Dr. Judi M. Lynch SGHS '83, VT '93 (MAEd), '03 (PhD)


Judi Lynch




Judi Lynch




Judi Lynch, “Saint Gertrude High School, Richmond, VA, Summer Alumnae News,” The April 16 Archive, accessed February 25, 2024,