Yesterday I was able to mentally skirt around thinking about the VTU tragedy too much. Today, as I drove onto campus to teach class, I got a little more emotional. I cannot imagine something like this happening at my school. I cannot imagine losing an entire classroom of students to a senseless act of violence. After a quick assessment of the somber mood in my classroom, I purposely changed my lesson plan to be more on the fun side. Who ever heard of a speech class marching around the classroom reciting introductions? I say, whatever works.
Collegiate news travels fast on account of email, and my inbox has been filling up with many stories related to yesterday's events. One of the emails came from a colleague of mine (Dr. Wright, for you WB alum) whose granddaughter is student at VTU. She would have been in the building where the shooting occurred, except that her classes didn't start until 10 am. From the email: "[Our granddaughter] wrote today that one of her girl friends with whom she attends a Bible study was one of the victims. Also, she is majoring in German as well as International Relations and her German professor was the first professor to be killed. She thought the world of him and so is very traumatized." Her parents are flying out to be with her tomorrow.
I have stayed away from watching the news and stayed away from reading the news. I'm already feeling the emotional effects without making it worse. However, today I was listening to some of the reports on NPR while I drove home from school. They were talking about the life of Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, who died while blocking the door from the shooter while students were able to escape through the window. Dr. Librescu was born in Romania and is a survivor of the Holocaust. He died on Holocaust Remembrance Day. His son was thinking of dropping his Romanian last name in order to make it easier for people to pronounce. He has now decided to keep it.
I won't write any more about this, mostly for my own sake. But please keep the VTU family and students in your prayers, as well as the education communities across the nation. It will be a difficult week for all of us.