It was a day of solemn remembrance in Chardon on Wednesday as residents paid tribute to the victims of last year’s shooting at Chardon High School. One year ago, T.J. Lane drew a gun in the school cafeteria, killing three students and injuring three others. ideastream’s Nick Castele was there as students arrived at the city’s town square for a commemorative ceremony.
Beth Kimball was among those waiting for the students of Chardon High as they walked from the school to the square. One of her sons was in the school on the day of the shooting. She hugged those around her -- even people she didn’t know.
KIMBALL: “I love the children, I love the parents, and I need hugs. And if I need a hug, I know other people need hugs, too.”
When student from the high school came into view, people applauded.
The principal, school superintendent and four seniors delivered short speeches from the gazebo telling the crowd the community would recover from its grief, and be better for it. They gave wreaths to the families of the students killed last year -- Demetrius Hewlin, Daniel Parmertor and Russell King.
Afterward, principal Andy Fetchik told reporters the students are still healing from the incident, and the loss of their classmates.
FETCHIK: “They’re all so sad. There’s going to be three empty chairs at graduation this year, and I think that’ll always be in our hearts.”
One year later, counselors are still available for students feeling post-traumatic stress. The day long commemoration ended with a candlelit vigil and concert.