Chardon: Community preparing to mark one year

8:26 PM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
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CHARDON -- Chardon community and school leaders are preparing for a difficult week. Wednesday they will mark one year since the high school shooting that killed three students and injured three others.

"There is no one who lives in this community who is not touched by the violence that took place in this past year," said Kate Biddle, a vice president of clinical services who coordinated counseling efforts through Beech Brook.

Leaders surveyed students -- how did they want to spend February 27, 2013?

Most importantly, students said together with their teachers in the high school during a day of service.

They'll make blankets for Project Linus, like the ones they received last winter.

"Each student was given a blanket and that sense of comfort really resonated with our students, and that's why one of the projects that was chosen was the Project Linus," said High School Principal Andy Fetchik.

They'll craft leashes for service dogs and spend time writing for the families of Danny Parmetor, Demetrius Hewlin, and Russell King, Jr.

"Danny, Russell and Demetrius were our classmates...They will never be forgotten. And we hope to honor them through this day of service and remembrance," said Will Porter, a senior class officer.

Wednesday afternoon, students will walk about a mile from Chardon High School to Chardon Square. It was a gathering place in the hours and days following where people came together to remember.

And that's just what they'll do Wednesday evening when the community comes out for a candlelight vigil. Anyone is welcome to the community renewal service at 6:30 p.m.

"If we could pull something positive out of the 27th, I think that would be it. We are now, we are a unit, we are a family, we're together," said Jessie Mysyk, a senior class officer. "So I think that's why we are coming to school on the 27th and we are working together."

In a show of fellowship, people at home are encouraged to wear red and do their own community service.

"Our school isn't normal anymore but in some sense, we've created a better sense of community," said Jill Allenby, a senior class officer.

Donations to the Chardon Healing Fund have reached nearly $1 million this month.

They've used the money to help the families, to hire a school resource officer for the high school and assist with emotional, mental or behavioral needs moving forward.

The city of Chardon is also developing ideas for a long-term memorial.


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