Marshall County High School students choose to find happiness

DRAFFENVILLE, KY — Marshall County High School Principal Patricia Greer says Jan. 23 is a marked day for her students. The district’s goal was to make the anniversary of the shooting as normal as possible while allowing students to remember the two students who died: Preston Cope and Bailey Holt.

The day began with healing and a remembrance assembly for students, their families, and staff.  “The community of western Kentucky has wrapped their arms around, us and we are very thankful for that,” Greer said.

Greer said she was anxious leading up to this day. “I think all students are still feeling. There’s still pain there.”

A year ago, the school was filled with chaos and tragedy. Today, students chose to find happiness. Leighton Solomon and Keaton Conner sent reporter Leah Shields photos of them with friends, smiling despite it all.

The school district brought in therapy dogs for students along with other activities. Lockers had handwritten notes on them saying “you are loved”.

If it was too difficult for students to be at the school, Greer said some students were allowed to volunteer at the district’s elementary schools. Maddie Darnall read to the younger kids.

Greer says although the shooting happened in her school, it affected the entire community.

The support is obvious in Marshall County. They are still Marshall Strong, as you can see when you pass signs across the county. Across the region, people are showing their orange and blue pride, like at Mercy Health Lourdes Hospital, which was lit up with orange and blue for Marshall. The school district is saying thank you.

“My message is thank you. You have helped us be strong,” Greer said. She says on Thursday, students will be back to school, but they will not be back to normal. “The truth of the matter is we are on a healing journey, and our healing journey continued today and it continues tomorrow.”

Greer said counselors will still be available after Wednesday for students and staff.

For more on this story and others, like Leah Shields on Facebook.

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