I grew up playing around the basketball court and football field at Cincinnati LaSalle High School where my dad taught and coached his entire career. I, along with the kids of other coaches, hung out and played games at the annual LaSalle staff picnics every year. That's where my sister won a 45 of Eric Clapton's "Layla." It's where I didn't want to take part in the balloon races because I was afraid to sit on a balloon to pop it, for fear I'd take out my tailbone. There was the time my dad brought us up to the gym and pulled out the trampoline - I was SO excited. When I grew a bit older, I remember running home from LaSalle one spring day after my dog and I found an awesome mud pit in the middle of the football field. My parents didn't find it as awesome.
My mind is happily littered with a million of those small memories.
So, when I got the simple text Monday morning "shooting at LaSalle High School" my heart sank.
Sure, it's 6 hours away. Yes, it's an all-boys school, so I clearly did not attend. But the LaSalle Community extends well beyond Cincinnati's West side. I attended McAuley, the all-girls high school just down the road. While I played soccer for McAuley, I attempted to run track with the boys at LaSalle my freshman year. Fail. :) However, drama was not a fail. I joined LaSalle's plays when I was a junior, and I can tell you that was a turning point for me ... what eventually led me to my current career in television news.
It's been a tough week for the LaSalle community. A student pulled out a loaded gun in the middle of a class full of students, then turned it on himself. It created panic as kids scrambled for their own safety. It caused multiple officers to descend upon the campus, while kids, teachers and staff hid in classrooms not knowing what was going to happen next. And it, of course, prompted parents to flood the campus, desperately searching for their sons.
It could have been much worse. People here in Southwest Virginia, unfortunately, know that all too well after the Virginia Tech shootings. No one else, other than the young man who attempted suicide, was hit by gunfire. He continues to fight for his own life at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
To see the support pour in from around Cincinnati, even from around the country has been heart-warming. I couldn't be prouder of my Alma Mater, after seeing a picture on Facebook of all the girls at McAuley dressed in LaSalle Lancer red - standing in the shape of a heart. Even some of LaSalle's fiercest competitors in the high school sports arena donned Lancer red this week, and sent pictures and letters to LaSalle letting them know right now - everyone is a Lancer.
It shows that #LancerStrong #PrayforLaSalle #LancersRollDeep truly are more than just hashtags on twitter.
Without a doubt, the Lancers have been #TestedTriedUnified ... It's not a test anyone ever imagined enduring, but the unyielding strength that has come from it - surprises no one. That's how Lancers Roll.