A Walk to Remember in Chardon

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CHARDON, Ohio -- "One community, one heartbeat, healing together."

That's the message proudly displayed on the main sign of Chardon Square.

And that's what community members are doing today on the one-year mark of the tragedy at Chardon High School.

It was a walk to remember, as Chardon High School students, faculty, and the community gathered for a Day of Remembrance and Renewal Wednesday.

"This is what the students wanted to do. They wanted to say thank you and give back to everyone that has give to us," said Andy Fetchik, principal.

Students walked from Chardon High School to the gazebo on Chardon Square.

*Click here for photos and videos from Chardon's Day of Remembrance*

Every step symbolized a move forward. Every tear symbolized what was lost one year ago.

Three students were killed: Danny Parmertor, 16, Demetrius Hewlin, 16, and Russell King, Jr., 17.

Wednesday, the students walked right into the arms of the Chardon community, who has offered unconditional support the past year.

"We don't want to be remembered for the tragedy.  We want to be remembered for the strength and the unity we have together as a community," said Joseph Bergant III, superintendent.

Other events are planned for Wednesday evening, including a candlelight vigil, memorial concert and release of lanterns.

Read more on the day of remembrance in the blog below.

Jessica Dabrowski February 27, 20136:40 pm

Candles light up the evening sky in Chardon as the community comes together for a vigil.


Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 20131:50 pm

During the Gathering of Remembrance and Renewal ceremony, students held onto each other, listening to the speakers intently, leaning on one another for strength.

Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 20131:46 pm

Bergant asked the families of Demetrius Hewlin, 16, Danny Parmertor, 16, and Russell King, Jr., to step forward so the school officers could present them with wreaths made by the students today as part of their Day of Service.

Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 20131:44 pm

Superintendent Joseph Bergant II, Principal Andy Fetchik and four Chardon High School senior class officers spoke under the gazebo at Chardon Square, which was filled with hundreds of students, community members and law enforcement officers.

Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 20131:40 pm

The memorial walk begins.

Kara Sutyak February 27, 20131:23 pm

Ceremony has ended and students are heading back to the school.

Kara Sutyak February 27, 20131:10 pm

Special ceremony to mark one year later begins at Chardon Square.

Kara Sutyak February 27, 20131:06 pm

Chardon firefighters raise flag at the square.

Kara Sutyak February 27, 20131:02 pm

Students walk in solidarity.

Kara Sutyak February 27, 201312:55 pm

Students and staff of Chardon High School are arriving at Chardon Square for remembrance and renewal.

Kara Sutyak February 27, 201312:47 pm

Pictures of Danny Parmertor, Demetrius Hewlin and Russell King, Jr. at gazebo in Chardon.

Kara Sutyak February 27, 201312:46 pm

People gather at the gazebo in Chardon for a day of remembrance and renewal.

Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 201311:29 am

Workers at Beans Coffee Shop show their love for Chardon.

Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 201310:27 am

We’ve seen some community members wearing these black and red Chardon ribbons.

Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 201310:20 am

Two coffee shop patrons wear Chardon Hilltoppers sweatshirts. The didn’t want to show their faces, but their pride for their city was evident.

Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 201310:08 am

Many people are wearing red Chardon sweatshirts, t-shirts and ribbons. Several businesses along Main Street have Chardon Hilltoppers signs in the windows.

Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 201310:05 am

The mood at Chardon Square is filled with mixed emotions. While some people appear to be going about their daily routine, it’s clear that others are fighting raw feelings about what today represents.

Lindsay Buckingham February 27, 20139:24 am

Main sign at Chardon Square.