Reporter: Lauren Compton l Photojournalist: Daniel Heffner
Appomattox, VA- School officials in Appomattox dedicated a memorial garden on Sunday to honor the memory of three students who died in a shooting rampage earlier this year.
It has been eight months since Emily Quarles, Morgan Dobyns, and Ronald Bo Scruggs died in that shooting. School officials hope the memorial will help preserve their memories.
The memorial was expanded to honor the lives of 28 other faculty members and students who died while attending the high school.
What began as so much sorrow and mourning of the lives of loved ones has now evolved into a beautiful garden," said Dorinda Grasty, Superintendent for Appomattox County Schools.
It was an emotional dedication for family members and the community who came to remember the students and faculty members honored in the memorial garden, a now peaceful place where their loved ones memories live on.
"It was nice knowing that he meant so much to so many people that they wanted to honor him this way. This is the way he should be honored," said Ashley Scruggs, sister of Appomattox shooting victim Ronald Scruggs.
Family members of shooting victims Ronald Scruggs, Emily Quarles and Morgan Dobyns say the memorial garden helps them remember their loved ones for their lives and not the tragedy surrounding their death.
"It's a good place for me to come and reflect on some of those memories," said Robert New, uncle of Morgan Dobyns.
One student, who grew up with Scruggs decided to take the memory of his childhood friend and carry with him for it for a lifetime. Etched on his back is a tattoo to remember his friend with a cross and angel wings.
"This is so I can always keep the memory. He's always going to be in my mind. I just want people to know that he and I were close," said Alex Goin.
And, just like the flowing fountain, the garden serves as a way to keep those memories going for generations to come.
And, school officials say donations to the memorial keep pouring in. All of the donations will go to help maintaining the garden.
The school plans to will build a plaque to honor all the donors of the project.