Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yup, We're All Hokies...for Leslie


Leslie Sherman-From Spartan to Hokie

If Leslie had been there, we all would have been smiling. Then laughing. Then, all curled up, hugging our sides, rolling in the aisles.

But she couldn't be there. So we cried, instead.

Our Humble High School dedicated its track to Leslie Geraldine Sherman yesterday afternoon, before the assembled student body, the news media & quite a few local dignitaries, including Leslie's parents and her sister.

Leslie, Our Humble High School Class of 2005 & Virginia Tech Class of 2009, never made it to college graduation. She died three years ago in her French classroom, in Room 211 of Norris Hall on the Tech campus.

A lunatic took the lives of 32 Hokies that day, including Leslie. Then he shot himself to death. Six of the victims, plus the gunman, were from the Northern Virginia 'Burbs, an area notable only because of its proximity to DC & because we live there. One victim attended school with my chicas. Then there was Leslie.

An avid runner, who competed with our track team during all 4 years of high school, Leslie had an infectious smile. She trained for marathons & then ran in them; never first, always in the middle of the pack, so happy to be there. She completed DC's Marine Corps Marathon 6 months before she died. Friends from Tech painted gaudy signs that read, "Run, Leslie, Run!"

After that Herculean effort, Leslie was a master of understatement: "I beat Oprah's time!" It was only appropriate that the following April Leslie's parents, Holly & Tony, appeared on Oprah's show; one condemned NBC's screening of the killer's video & other materials. The other praised the network.

Just like her parents, Leslie was full of contradictions. But that's what made her worth knowing...and remembering.

She loved to dance. So she volunteered at a retirement home, where the old guys knew how to cut a rug.

She loved history. We learned yesterday that she showed up at her US History teacher's wedding rehearsal in an historic Old Town Alexandria church. She said experiencing the past was so much more real than reading about battles & treaties & scientific breakthroughs in a musty old book.

But she thought nothing of reading a 600-page tome on Napoleon. "I needed to do that," she once said.

We needed to honor Leslie yesterday. As 2,500+ Spartans & others crammed into the home side of our football stadium, we heard stories, we sang tributes, we pledged to honor our fallen friend. One of my yearbook editors, representing the track team that Leslie so loved, had a difficult time getting thru her speech. She's going to VA Tech in August, where she'll be a member of their Division 1 squad. I'm sure she'll think of Leslie every time she laces up her running shoes.

I think about Leslie every day. So do dozens of others, I'm sure. And I can't think of a more fitting memorial than that.

32 comments:

quilly said...

This is a touching post. Much better to remember and celebrate those who died, then perpetuate the name of the killer.

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

So sad!What a powerful tribute for Leslie!
Betty xx

Cheryl said...

Thank you for this.

Missy said...

This made me cry. What nice words you wrote for her! Visiting from 6WS.

Hootin' Anni said...

This was a chilling post. Sad.

My 6 words are posted. I do hope you can stop by if you have time...it's HERE

Kathy said...

What a wonderful tribute! Leslie would've been proud! So sad that another wonderful, and promising life was cut short by a maniac. ((hugs)) Kathy

Tara R. said...

A loving and appropriate tribute to this young woman. Such a sad tragedy. Thank you for sharing this.

amanda said...

Very nice tribute,

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

What a great tribute.
Thank you for sharing.
Sorry for your loss.

faerwillow said...

~gone but not forgotten...a beautiful tribute and way to honor and celebrate the life of Leslie...i am sure she was beaming from above looking down below and seeing all who came to be there for her...remembering...warm wishes and brightest blessings~

Jeanie said...

What a horrible, horrible loss. Your tribute was so heartfelt in sharing who Leslie was and how fully her loss is felt.

TeachJ said...

Six words aren't nearly enough to describe how touching that post was, it reminded me that we're not all about tests and mandates, paperwork and paychecks. It's about the kids, like Leslie no matter how long we have with them.

mama-face said...

All too often it's easy to forget that there are real people involved in the senseless tragedies we hear about. Thank you for this lovely tribute. What a great group of kids to remember Leslie that way.

Ron Cooper said...

Happy 6WS!

My latest postings are, “A Feast,” “Love Lifts,” “Wake Up to Serve” and “Soul-itude.”

Please leave your comments!

http://inspiredbyron.blogspot.com/


Ron

Mama Zen said...

A fitting memorial, indeed.

shopannies said...

so very sad event this was it was great that she was honored

Trackie Chica said...

What a fitting tribute to Leslie. She was an incredible young woman and has inspired many lives. Dedicating the track to her was such a great thing for OHHS to do - I wish I could have been there for it! Thank you so much for sharing this with us - it brought back so many of the great memories I had with her.

Kim

Becca said...

Awww what a sweet 6WS. When will these senseless tragedies end?

CelticLady said...

Such a sad and inspiring post. There are lunatics out there unfortunately, but there are so many wonderfull people also.. this tribute to Leslie is a great thing. Thank you for posting it.

Ash said...

Thank you for Leslie's story. So many times the news is just something that happens to someone else so far away.

I'm so sorry for your, and the world's, loss.

Ash (Em)

Kristin said...

Such a senseless tragedy...but how wonderful that you honored her!

Susie said...

What a waste of a perfectly good life! And what a wonderful way to celebrate her!

The Blonde Duck said...

What a beautiful girl. How sad.

miss jo said...

A lovely, lovely tribute to Leslie with the magic smile. Truly amazing a new track was named for her at OHHS. Her reading a tome on Napoleon and cutting the rug with seniors---Wow. She knew what made her happy. I can only imagine the hole left by her absence....A tragedy. Why the need to have guns so readily available is beyond me. Think what could be achieved from those who've lost their lives from gunfire.

Sarah said...

such a pretty girl and such a senseless crime. my heart goes out to the parents as well.

carma said...

a lovely tribute - so sad that it ever had to happen :-(

Together We Save said...

What a beautiful post!! I am so sorry for your loss!

Traci said...

The world is obviously a lesser place. Thank you for reminding me of her and the other victims at Tech. It is so easy to caught up in the tragedy of the moment (Girl gets beat into coma over text, etc)and forget about these precious lives. The headlines pass and sadly, we forget. I am reminded today of the tremendous loss in Oklahoma. These are not numbers, these are real people with families and friends who love them. I'm sorry for your loss. I am sorry for all of our loss. The world would have been better with her in it.

Help! Mama Remote... said...

I agree with Traci. The world has lost such a promise. So tired of seeing inspiring lives lost to such foolishness!

cat said...

What a great tribute and very touching post.

Queenie Jeannie said...

A beautiful tribute!!! All teary now, but for a good cause. These slayings never make any sense and leave such despair behind.

Hugs!!

Call Me Cate said...

Thank you for sharing Leslie with us. So often, something like this happens and it's just a list of names of people we don't know. We all need to remember that these were individuals with lives and hopes and dreams and families and friends.

Thanks for being part of 6WS.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin