10 Years Later, Virginia Tech Instructor Recalls Her Students' Response To Tragedy
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And it is time for StoryCorps. This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the nation's worst school shooting. On the morning of April 16, 2007, a student at Virginia Tech killed 32 students and teachers. Until last year's massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, it was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. At StoryCorps, Virginia Tech teacher Jane Vance talked about how her students came together in the aftermath of that shooting.
JANE VANCE: That first day that I came back to teach after the shooting, I came back in to my classroom of 35 and expected maybe five students. But not one was missing. And they were still, like statues, until a young man named Patrick (ph) stood before the class, with his hair nicely combed and his shirt tucked in. And in a wooden cadence full of kindness, he said, my sister is the worst wounded survivor. She has a bullet next to her spine. Another bullet was in her French braid. And a woman named Kristen (ph), who sat beside him, stood up and said, my friend Caitlin was the only other person at our big university from our little hometown. And then Patrick finished her sentence. Yes, Caitlin, she sat next to my sister. She died very quickly. And Kristen said, that's what I wanted to know. And the class rose spontaneously, hugged and sat down. And I said, is it time for me to teach? And they nodded. That kindness in such young people changed me forever.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHRIS ZABRISKIE SONG, "NIRVANAVEVO")
GREENE: Virginia Tech teacher Jane Vance, talking to her friend Lucinda Roy in Roanoke, Va. Their interview will be archived at the Library of Congress.
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