The following tribute was written by one of my journalistas. It will appear in next week's edition of our high school newspaper.
Six years ago, a lone gunman took the lives of 32 people at Virginia Tech. As news of the tragedy broke, Spartans were devastated to learn that one of the victims had been a student from the Class of 2005. Now six years later, we remember her inspiring but short story.
Leslie Sherman was a sophomore at Virginia Tech when she was murdered along with 31 of her fellow Hokies in 2007. She is remembered fondly by her friends and former teachers as one who was passionate about the state of the world.
“Leslie deeply cared about history and people,” said long-time US History teacher JP, who retired last year. “She wanted to make a difference in the world. Leslie was not an attention-seeker and the friendships she formed with her peers were deep and rich,”
Sherman’s general attitude toward life was a positive and rich one and this attitude overflowed into everything that she did. She was known as a serious student who also had a playful side.
“She would get really excited if she learned something new or figured something out and she would just beam,” said MT, Sherman’s AP US History teacher. “Leslie was an incredibly positive person and this affected the way she lived her life.”
Sherman touched lives outside of the classroom as well. She was an avid runner on the cross country and track teams. Our new track, in fact, was dedicated in Sherman’s memory in 2010.
”I think she epitomized the type of athlete that I had always wanted to coach,” said math teacher DB, who coached Sherman.
For current students and the community, Sherman lives on with all of us on the track, renamed the Leslie Sherman Memorial Track in her honor. Teachers and coaches such as DBcan’t imagine a better way to honor the contributions Sherman made during her short life.
“I remember she had this infectious smile. She was always smiling; it didn’t matter if it was 25 degrees outside and hailing or 95 degrees out and sweating bullets. [Leslie] was always smiling. She was very upbeat,” said DB.
Sherman also met her best friend RM (Class of 2004) on the track team and followed RM to Tech in 2005.
“I think my favorite memory of Leslie was her move-in day at Tech,” RM said. “She and I drove to Tech together and I spent the entire time telling her how great everything was. When we were about 15 minutes away we just started screaming and laughing uncontrollably with excitement. I was so happy to have my best friend at Tech and to be able to share college with her,” she said.
Sherman, who died a week after celebrating her 20th birthday, touched the lives of so many in the Spartan Community. As a senior, it wasn’t beneath her to befriend a freshman on the cross country team. And as a member of the National Honor Society, she organized a “Senior Prom” with residents at Greenspring Village. When nobody would make the first move to the dance floor, Sherman popped up and did the tango with an elderly gent.
“She was bold and she was beautiful,” said Journalism teacher Mrs. Scribe. “I never taught her, but she spent most of her four years hanging out in my classroom during lunch because she had so many friends in Room 215.”
JP fondly remembers classes and field trips with Sherman, but most of all he remembers how she touched so many.
“In her brief 20 years here she made a difference not only in my life but in the lives of many other people,” JP said. “That is her real legacy. She was someone, who was a fully alive human being. There is a lot to be said for that.”
Sherman, he said, looked forward to everything.
“Life was not a chore for Leslie, it was an adventure; something to be lived to its fullest in the best possible way.”