Monday, February 27, 2012

This City Is My City. And I Love It, Yeah, I Love It.

Wow, homesickness hit hard and fast today. I haven't really been homesick for the States at all, I've been more homesick for Costa Rica, actually. It's not that I don't miss my wonderful family and my fantastic friends, but I'm just soaking up this incredible opportunity.

But today, on Februray 27, I have never felt more homesick in my life. If you had asked me around lunch time if I wanted to go home, I would have been packed and ready to go before you could blink your eye.

Geauga Theatre.
I was getting ready to go down to lunch when Amanda walked into my classroom. She asked me if I had ever heard of Chardon and, of course, I answered that I have once or twice because I live there. Her face went white and her eyes got wide, which is when my heart started to race a little bit. She goes "Oh, um, there was a shooting at the high school today." Heart. Stopped.

EVERYONE has been changing their Facebook picture.
I text mom, dad, Joey, Sarah, anyone and everyone that I knew. I read as many news reports as possible. Between various news reports and from talking to Joey, I found out that around 7:30am a student, who was in the cafeteria, began firing a gun before taking off down the hallway where he was chased by Mr. Hall. Four students were injured and one has been killed. My mind cannot fathom this at all.

Out of 130 picture changes, 126 were to a Chardon logo.
Luckily, my dear little brother who I pretend to hate, but actually really love, was in Sociology with Mr. Leikala. He's fine and safe which is a good feeling. Especially because I'm 5000 miles away and there is literally nothing that I would be able to do.

In the midst of this horrific tradgey, I am FLOORED by the love and support that has been shown to the community of Chardon and by Chardon. I have NEVER been more proud to have grown up in Chardon and attended Chardon High School. The support that has come from all over has absolutely blown me away. The way that Chardon has come together has floored me. This is what Chardon is all about. All about love, support, and community. Tragedy has struck, but Chardon has risen through it in ways that I could not have believed to be possible.

Claire and I went to the Marriott in Copacabana in hopes of buying a pool membership which would allow us unlimited access to the pool and fitness center. Unfortunately, those plans fell through. Obviously we don't exactly scream 'carioca' especially when we speak English to the people at the front desk. We were headed towards the elevator and an older American man was headed in the same direction. He asked us where we were from and when we replied "Ohio", he goes "Oh, you know there was a school shooting there today?" Of course, I told him that was my high school. He appeared to be a little started and kind of grossed out, like that sort of thing is contagious. I wanted to scream. I wanted to set him straight. Chardon is NOT defined by this shooting. Chardon is about the community that is built and the love that is shared between the people. Chardon has risen up and banded together in this time of tragedy. THAT is what Chardon is about, not this shooting.

Holla at my brother for being on national news.
Go ahead and click here for the news report that features the above tweet: MSNBC Report

Out of my 21 and a half years of life, I have never, ever been more proud to be a Hilltopper than I have been today. Proud of the love, proud of the sense of community, proud of the incredible teachers who work at Chardon High, proud to wear red and black.

Update: It's currently 4:08pm Brazil time on Tuesday, February 28 which translates to 2:08pm in my dear Chardon, Ohio. Since I originally posted, two other students have died. Which is horrendous. My heart stops each time I hear about another death. I still cannot emphasize how incredible it is to see everyone come together to support each other. The Facebook groups and profile pictures and statuses from everyone around the country blow me away. I cannot say it enough, I am so, so proud of my community.

Please go to this website to watch a video from the Candlelight Vigil that was held on February 28. It moved me to tears.


  1. I love love love this! This whole having emotions thing is difficult for me to handle. Love you! Miss you!

  2. Just read all of your posts and have so much to say so this may be slightly long. But first of all it sounds like your trip has been AMAZING so far! Totally jealous! I am absolutely loving the pictures of Flat Stanley, for some reason they make me laugh. There's no way I'd be able to be that far away from home for 12 weeks but with everything you're experiencing I would say it's totally worth it.
    I saw everything about Chardon today what a tragedy. But I completely see how it makes the community stronger, unfortunate it had to happen this way though. I'm so glad to see how proud you are to be from there though. It really shows what an impact this day has on everyone.
    I saw your post about ADPi and how you wont be there for senior retreat and whatnot which makes me sad. :( But being in Brazil will make up for missing that! Reading both yours and Karen's posts makes me so happy to call you both my sisters! So proud of you both and hope that I can be half as great of a student teacher as both of you! Keep posting on here! I'll keep reading and I love looking at your pictures! :)