Hallways of Hope: Community Visits Chardon High School
CHARDON, Ohio — For the very first time since the tragic shootings, the public was allowed inside Chardon High School.
Inside, the hallways are filled with hope. On Sunday, the community got to see it.
“Literally thousands. There are cards, letters, banners, other gifts, artwork, even origami strung from the ceiling,” said Superintendent Joseph Bergant II.
Expressions of love and support from all over Northeast Ohio and the world have helped in students’ healing.
“Every child brings a different suitcase to school. One child’s suitcase may already be filled with love, strength, courage, and another child’s suitcase may be empty. And these cards and letters, in some of the kids with the empty suitcases, may fill them up and give them more strength,” said Bergant.
While still hurting, the school invited the community inside Sunday, so that they too, could see the overwhelming amount of compassion and caring.
And to also remember and reflect, on what happened there.
“The three lockers of the children have been decorated with the same decoration, and the students have signed their messages on their lockers,” added Bergant.
Eventually, the signs will come down and be memorialized as the school years moves forward.
“This is the time of year when our students are excited about a lot of things. Graduation, prom, we don’t want to deny our students the opportunity to do those things they should celebrate. We think that transitioning the building back to the way it was before February 27th makes sense,” said Ellen Ondrey, community coordinator.
But what will remain in the hallways of Chardon High School is a message of hope and healing.
One heartbeat that will never go away.
“That heartbeat is about as strong as it can get. Seeing these items brings a tear to your eye and a lump to your throat, but it also gives you a sense of strength. That we are going to get beyond this, and we are going to restore the learning environment,” said Bergant.
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