April 17, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck
Showing solidarity, a group of nearly 50 McNeese students and members of the community gathered to remember the 33 lives tragically cut short at Virginia Tech.
"It hit the Virginia Tech community, but it hit the college community in general and we just wanted to come out and show our support for them as students," said McNeese student John O'Donnell.
Wanting to do something at the same time Virginia Tech was holding their vigil, O'Donnell and friends began spreading the word around 2 p.m.
"We began mass calls on our cell phones and texting everyone we knew. It was sort of a 'Pay it Forward' moment," said O'Donnell.
"I got the phone call, a voice mail. I checked it at work and immediately I made a universal text message and told everyone else that I knew that went to school here," said McNeese student Kristine Alcantara.
McNeese English professor Dr. Cheryl Ware says students are handling the tragedy well and is pleased to see the those who chose to share their sympathy.
"You can only feel connected with them. And in a different way than you did before. Despite all rivalries this isn't about rivalry, this is about solidarity and about being one community," said Ware. "It's a larger community that's involved in this, it's the university community."
"We really are all connected and not only as Americans, but really as humans. We need to stand together and support each other," said McNeese Student Kujo Stewart.
Standing together they observe a moment of silence and send more than just their prayers to Virginia Tech. "We also have a journal where we will write thoughts and ideas and words of encouragement and messages to the victims and their families. We will then send it to Virginia Tech to let them know we stand with them in this very difficult time," said Stewart.
As one university starts to heal, students here say they will never forget the tragic events of April 16, 2007. "It's always going to be on our minds and our hearts. Always remembered. It was one of the worst and it's very devastating," said Alcantara.