Wednesday, April 18, 2007

in their honor

because in the wake of this horror, it is their names that we should remember. their faces we should honor. their lives we should never forget.
we are all virginia tech.
"today, we are all hokies."

virginia tech memorial 4-17-07

Ross Alameddine, 20, of Saugus, Mass. He was a sophomore English major who was gunned down in French class.
Alameddine's mother, Lynnette Alameddine, said Tuesday that she was "trying to get through the day here." "You're such an amazing kid, Ross," wrote Zach Allen, who also attended Austin Prep, according to his profile. "You always made me smile, and you always knew the right thing to do or say to cheer anyone up." his myspace is here

Jamie Bishop, 35, an instructor in German and German literature. According to his Web site (, Bishop spent four years living in Germany, where he "spent most of his time learning the language, teaching English, drinking large quantities of wheat beer, and wooing a certain fraulein." The "fraulein" was Bishop’s wife, Stephanie Hofer, who also teaches in Virginia Tech’s German program.

Brian Bluhm, 25, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a civil engineering graduate student. “He was a real lovable, genuine, peaceful person,” said Mr. Marshall, who roomed with Mr. Bluhm while both were undergraduates at Virginia Tech. “He had a memorable laugh (more of a chuckle) and a huge heart,” Ms. Barnhill said. “He was a person of faith, a loyal friend, and a Hokie till the end. He deserved every good thing in the world, and we are all shocked and deeply saddened to have lost him.” his myspace is here

Ryan Clark, 22, from Martinez, Ga., a biology, English and psychology major. He was a resident adviser on the fourth floor of the dorm where the rampage began. "He was just one of the greatest people you could possibly know," Gregory Walton, a friend who graduated last year, said as he fought tears. "He was always smiling, always laughing. I don't think I ever saw him mad in the five years I knew him." "I don’t think there’s enough words to explain how you feel when someone passes,” she said. "But he was one step above a lot of people."
his myspace is here

Austin Cloyd, 18, from Charlotte, NC... Freshman, International Studies & French. Harter, whose church held a prayer service for the family Tuesday night, described Cloyd as a "very delightful, intelligent, warm young lady" and an athlete who played basketball and volleyball in high school. But it was the mission trips to Appalachia that showed just how caring and faithful she was, he said. "It made an important impact on her life, that's the kind of person she was," he said.

Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, age unknown, a French language teacher and former Montreal resident, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Taggart remembers her former teacher as a "one of the most caring, loving teachers I have met on our campus, an incredible professor and woman."

Daniel Perez Cueva, 21, a student from Peru who was studying international relations. He was shot during French class, according to his mother, Betty Cueva. "I'll miss his smile and his laughter," friend Donald Smith told CNN. "We're missing a friend, a very good friend."

Kevin Granata, 45, an engineering science and mechanics professor who was married and had three children.Engineering professor Demetri Telionis said Granata was successful, but also kind. "With so many research projects and graduate students, he still found time to spend with his family and he coached his children in many sports and extracurricular activities," Telionis said. "He was a wonderful family man. We will all miss him dearly."

Matthew Gwaltney, 24, from Chester, Va... majoring in Environmental Engineering. “Matt came home Thursday night. He had an interview in Richmond Friday morning, and we got to have dinner with him,” said Linda Gwaltney, his stepmother. “He went back to school Friday after his interview.” It was the last time they saw their only child.
Gwaltney had been his high school newspaper’s sports editor and was named “Best guy to take home to your parents,” his high school principal, Robert Stansberry, said.
his myspace is here

Caitlin Hammaren, 19, of Westtown, N.Y., was a sophomore majoring in international studies and French, according to officials at her former school district.
Vanessa Oratvz posted on that Hammaren was her dorm resident adviser. "She was the nicest person I have ever met," Oratvz wrote. "She would do anything for you at the drop of a hat without any questions. She was always there to help you, or just talk. Late night she would stop in and say hi whenever she could. She was always dedicated to helping her friends and the community." her myspace is here

Jeremy Herbstritt, 27, of Bellefonte, Pa. A graduate student in engineering, he had received his bachelor's degree from Penn State and graduated from Bellefonte High School in 1998.
"He was a wonderful student and person, and will be greatly missed," Amy Sten posted on, identifying herself as a former teacher of Herbstritt's.

Rachael Hill, 18, of Richmond, Va., a freshman. She had graduated from Grove Avenue Christian School, where Pastor Mark Becton said he had spoken with her mother.
"When you talk to a parent who has just lost a child over something as violent or tragic as this, you just don't know how you will be able to comfort them," Becton said, according to the Richmond Times. "But the first words out of her mouth were, 'We want all the glory to go to God, because that's the way Rachael would have wanted it.'"

Emily Hilscher, 19, from Woodville, Va., according to family friend John McCarthy. She was a freshman majoring in animal and poultry sciences.
"Emily was a beautiful, talented, sweet kid who had a world of potential," he told friend, Will Nachless, 19, said Hilscher "was always very friendly. Before I even knew her I thought she was very outgoing, friendly and helpful, and she was great in chemistry."
her myspace is here

Jarrett Lane, 22, from Narrows, Va., a senior majoring in civil engineering who was valedictorian of his high school class. “He had a caring heart and was a friend to everyone he met,” Farrell said. “We are leaning on God’s grace in these trying hours.”
In a posting on, Jessica Green wrote that "the small but very close community of Narrows, VA lost a dear friend and an amazing guy. Jarrett Lane was a very humble and down-to-earth guy and there couldn't have been any sweeter person to have a conversation with. Our small town is feeling the effects of this heinous crime that took place just 20 minutes away."

Matthew La Porte, age unknown, from Dumont, N.J., a freshman majoring in university studies. He had been an Air Force cadet at Virginia Tech, according to his former platoon leader, David Wheeler."Matthew was an exemplary student at Carson Long whose love of music and fellow cadets were an inspiration to all on campus," Carson Long said in a statement.
La Porte graduated third in his class and was also drum major for the school's drum and bugle corps during his senior year. his myspace is here

Henry Lee, 20, from Roanoke, Va., a freshman majoring in computer engineering. A Virginia Tech classmate who lived in Lee’s hall, Nathan Spady, described Lee as “an extremely bubbly guy, always ready to go.”
Friends continued to post hundreds of messages and remembrances on Lee’s Facebook page since he was shot to death, knowing he would never get to view them.
“Remember how you used to freak out when I hugged you all the time?” one read. “I’m not so sorry for that anymore.”

Liviu Librescu, 76, an engineering science and mechanics lecturer. Born in Romania, he survived the Nazi Holocaust and emigrated to Israel in 1978 before moving to Virginia in 1985.After surviving the Nazi killings, Librescu escaped from Communist Romania and made his way to the United States before he was killed in Monday’s massacre, which coincided with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Librescu's son, Joe, said his father's students sent e-mails detailing how the professor saved their lives by blocking the doorway of his classroom from the approaching gunman before he was fatally shot.
“My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee,” Joe Librescu said from his home outside of Tel Aviv. “Students started opening windows and jumping out.”

G.V. Loganathan, 51, was an Indian-born lecturer at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
"We all feel like we have had an electric shock, we do not know what to do," his brother G.V. Palanivel told the NDTV news channel in India. "He has been a driving force for all of us, the guiding force." "Dr. Loganathan was an excellent teacher and mentor ... I will always remember him for his kind heart and patience he displayed towards me and his other students. He truly had a passion for teaching and getting to know his advisees. He was a primary reason that I chose to pursue a career in the engineering specialty of water resources and I credit much of my success to him. He will be missed greatly."

Partahi Lombantoruan, 34, of Indonesia, was a civil engineering doctoral student, according to Kristiarto Legowo, a spokesman for the foreign ministry. “We tried everything to completely finance his studies in the United States,” said his father. “We only wanted him to succeed in his studies, but ... he met a tragic fate.”
His stepmother, Sugiyarti, said he had called almost daily to talk to the family. In their last conversation he had asked for the latest news on Indonesian politics.
“Why can people bring guns to campus?” she asked, weeping. “How is it possible that so many innocent people could be killed? How could it happen?”
An aunt, 53-year-old Christina Panjaitan, said her nephew was hardworking, intelligent and never complained. “He told me he wanted to teach in America,” she said.

Lauren McCain, 20, of Hampton, Va. An undergraduate majoring in international studies. On her MySpace page, McCain listed "the love of my life" as Jesus Christ.
Her family said the 20-year-old international studies major became a Christian some time ago.
"Her life since that time has been filled with His love that continued to overflow to touch everyone who knew her," the family said in a statement. her myspace is here

Daniel O'Neil, 22, of Lincoln, R.I. A graduate student in environmental engineering, he also played guitar and wrote his own songs, which he posted on a Web site, . “He would come home from school over the summer and talk about projects, about building bridges and stuff like that,” Craveiro said. “He loved his family. He was pretty much destined to be extremely successful. He just didn’t deserve to have happen what happened.” his myspace is here

Juan Ortiz, 26, a graduate student in civil engineering from Puerto Rico, was killed while teaching a class, his father said. "He was an extraordinary son," his father, Juan Ramon, said. "On his wedding day, I told him ... what I felt in my heart, I thanked him for being my son, it was special."

Minal Panchal, 26, a first-year building science student from Mumbai, India, according to foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna. She was very keen to go to the United States for postgraduate studies and thrilled when she gained admission last year, said Chetna Parekh, a friend who lives in the bustling middle-class Mumbai neighborhood of Borivali, India, where Panchal lived before coming to Virginia Tech. "She was a brilliant student and very hardworking. She was focussed on getting her degree and doing well."
Panchal was worried about her mother, Hansa, living alone and wanted her to come to the U.S., neighbor Jayshree Ajmane said. Hansa left earlier this month for New Jersey, where her sister and brother-in-law live.
Ajmane called Panchal a bright, polite girl who would help the neighborhood children with their schoolwork.

Erin Peterson, 18, graduated in 2006 from Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va., along with a second victim, Reema Samatha. A fan of "old-school" TV shows like "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Sanford and Son," Peterson described herself on what appears to be her MySpace profile as a "jeans and a t-shirt girl." Friends left anguished messages on her profile as news of the shootings first spread. The messages now recall fond memories of graduation and prom night. "You have no idea how much my heart aches knowing I'll never see you again," one message read.

Michael Pohle, 23, of Flemington, N.J., graduated from Hunterdon Central High, according to school officials. "He had a bunch of job interviews and was all set to start his post-college life," Blanton told The Star-Ledger of Newark.
At the high school, Pohle played on the football and lacrosse teams.
One of his old lacrosse coaches, Bob Shroeder, described him as "a good kid who did everything that good kids do."
"He tried to please," Shroeder told the newspaper. "He was just a great kid."

Julia Pryde, 23, a graduate student from Middletown, N.J. She traveled to Peru with a professor to work with students there on improving water systems in South America, was fluent in Spanish and enjoyed hiking the Appalachian Trail. She was an “exceptional student academically and personally,” said Saied Mostaghimi, chairman of the biological systems and engineering department where Pryde was seeking her master’s degree.
“She was the nicest person you ever met,” Mostaghimi told The Star-Ledger of Newark.

Reema Samaha, 18, from Centreville, Va., a freshman who also performed with the school's Contemporary Dance Ensemble. Her brother Omar, a Virginia Tech graduate, told NBC's TODAY show that she was shot dead while in French class.
Her sister Rhonda added that "she was pretty much my second half, we did everything together. I looked up to her, and she looked up to me."
her facebook is here

Waleed Shaalan, 32, of Zagazig, Egypt, was a doctoral student in civil engineering, the university said. Shaalan was married and the father of a 1-year-old son, according to the Muslim Students Association at Virginia Tech.“He was the simplest and nicest guy I ever knew. We would be studying for our exams and he would go buy a cake and make tea for us,” Fahad Pasha, Waleed’s roommate, said on the association’s Web site.

Leslie Sherman, age 20, a sophomore majoring in history and international studies. "Leslie Sherman was a remarkable young lady," an anonymous poster wrote to "Everyone looked up to her." The poster, from Springfield, Va., recalled running cross country and track with Sherman in high school. "She always put 100 percent effort into running, as well as into every other aspect [of]life." She text-messaged one of her cousins the evening before she died. “She was so happy. Life was going so well for her,” said Adams, who described the family as “just beside themselves” with grief.

Mary Read, 19, of Annandale, Va., according to her aunt, Karen Kuppinger, of Rochester, N.Y.She had yet to declare a major.
"I think she wanted to try to spread her wings," said Kuppinger, whose niece had struggled adjusting to Virginia Tech's large campus. She'd recently begun making friends and looking into a sorority. her myspace is here

Maxine Turner, 22, from Vienna, Va., a senior majoring in chemical engineering.
Elizabeth Tracz posted to that she had been a classmate of Turner's at James Madison High School in Vienna. "She was at the top of our class and did really well in school ... Vienna is a very close, tight-knit community and I know those from our graduating class of 2003 and all other JMHS students past and present are grieving from this tragic loss of life."
her myspace is here

Nicole White, 20, from Carrollton, VA.. a junior majoring in International Studies and German. "I grew up with Nicole White," Michelle D. Clay, of Toccoa Falls, Ga., wrote to "She was one my four best friends, and we all shared everything."
"I never imagined she would be gone in the blink of an eye."


Mike said...

You did a great job Jennster. This was a horrible tragety.

Becky said...

thanks for posting all this.

norcalgirl28 said...

They had already given so much, survived so much and accomplished so much. What a wonderful tribute. The flag is at half mast at Drew and Blake's school. How do you explain this to a nine year old? I don't think there is an any age.

RWA said...

Well done. It is sad to see young, promising lives ended like that, and it's worse when the media ignores the victims to focus on the criminal.

Thanks for taking the time and effort.

Piece of Work said...

I can't get over it. Can't. Thanks for this.

alison said...

This is so neat. I'm glad you did this because like I said before, I have this need to know about the victims. It helps me. You're an angel.

mel said...

Coming out of lurking to say thanks for posting this. I took a look at their myspace pages. It was so heartbreaking to read the comments asking, "Are you ok? let us know you are ok".
I'm not a crier, but I couldn't help the tears when I got to Maxine's page. I'm not sure why...just the combo of her song and her profile pic, I guess. So horribly sad.

carrie said...

Thank you for this.

I have been so numb and purposely avoiding media that covers this because, I think, out of respect for the victims and their families/friends, but here I sit - sobbing.

Especially the professor who survived the Holocaust and then saved countless lives by blocking a doorway with his own body - hero.

Life is so precious.


Ryan's mom said...

Great post! This is a wonderful tribute and a reminder of what the real story is...

Jenn said...

I'm so glad that I can finally put some faces (other than that psycho) to that pit in my stomach that I've been feeling for the past couple of days.

Great job.

clara said...

Hi, I'm from Singapore and I would like to thank you for posting this up and sharing the victims' greatness with the rest of the world. I may be far away but these people are just like me with hopes, dreams and fears and somehow I felt a connection to them reading their profiles and it made me cry visiting their myspace pages. I have put a link of your blog on mine so that my friends here can know about these victims and the situation in Va Tech as well. Please let me know if you are not comfortable with it and I'll definitely remove the link if so.

Thanks, and God bless those affected by the tragedy.


Anonymous said...

i think this is beautiful and such a tribute. i think people forget that real people were involved in this horrific situation...