About a dozen teachers gathered on the beach in Gulfport Wednesday
morning at sunrise to offer prayers and support to the victims and
survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown,
Despite the early morning cold, the teachers were
filled with warm thoughts for those impacted by one of the worst school
shootings in the nation's history. Twenty children and six adults lost
Phyllis Skinner, who helped organize the vigil,
said, "I was just driving along and thought about the agony that these
families are going through, and as a teacher what it would be like to go
back into the classroom to deal with your own fears, to be there for
our children. And that's where the idea came from. Teachers supporting
There was a stark reminder of the terrible loss,
as names of the victims were read. The need for this vigil was apparent,
as was the need for healing, according to Ron Skinner.
children and these teachers are going to need our support for the long
term. This is not something that's going away in their hearts and their
minds and in their psyche overnight," Skinner said. "So it's important
for them to know that there are those of us who are praying for them and
thinking about them and caring about them."
The principal of
one of the schools in the St. Martin district was there at the
candlelight vigil. Dr. Christopher William felt compelled to attend, and
felt a special connection to the principal who lost her life at Sandy
"I just can't imagine experiencing something
like that and so, definitely, I feel connected to that principal. She
gave her life, she's considered a hero and I'm honored to be in this
profession," William said.
"We are thinking of them and we're
not going to stop thinking of them, and we're not going to stop praying
for them because this is a journey for them in the days ahead.
and students from Sandy Hook Elementary School go back to class
Thursday for the first time since the shooting occurred.
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