Slain high school students memorialized

By Matt Butner - bio | email

APPOMATTOX, VA (WWBT) - Morgan Dobyns, Emily Quarles, and Ronald "Bo" Scruggs should be starting school in two weeks. Instead they are featured in a memorial garden at the high school they attended.

The three were among 8 people killed in a January shooting rampage, allegedly at the hands of Christopher Speight.

There are fewer than 700 students at Appomattox County High School. The small student body has been coping with a huge loss.

"Immediately after the shooting, the sense of the student body and faculty was shock," said Superintendent Dorinda Grasty. "To lose three students in one day is beyond words."

The idea for a memorial came to a group of teachers and students just a few weeks after the shootings. They wanted a way to remember the three, and to heal over time.

"It is designed to be just that- a quiet place for students," said Grasty.

The memorial sits in a central courtyard at the heart of school.

"Students traverse through here between nearly every class," Grasty said.

Starting this year, they'll pass three stones in a walkway leading to a fountain. The stones bear the names of Bo Scruggs, Morgan Dobyns, and Emily Quarles. Scruggs would have been a senior this year, Dobyns a junior, and Quarles a sophomore.

"Teachers have reported that all three of these young people were great students, and very liked by everyone here," said Grasty.

As the memorial took shape, more names were added- those of students and staff who have died over the school's 40-year history.

Michael Myers is entering his first year as principal at the school. His job will be to lead the student body forward, while keeping the memories of Morgan Dobyns, Emily Quarles, and Bo Scruggs alive.

"We have to make sure that this space is respected for the kids that were lost, and I'm certain from what I hear about the Appomattox student body that the kids will do a good job with that," said Myers.

The school year starts August 23. The memorial will be officially dedicated in September.

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