With tragedy still fresh, UNCC students return to campus for summer classes

Monday was the first day of summer classes at UNC-Charlotte. It’s the first semester students have been back since a deadly shooting on campus nearly three weeks ago.

Some students don’t even want to talk about the shooting, but others do, Monday a teacher gave them the chance to share their feelings.

“It’s frightening to come back on campus a little,” said sophomore Noah McLeod.

“It hasn’t been easy, but talking about it has made it a lot easier,” said graduate student Rachel Gascho.

The scars from a deadly campus shooting will never go away, but there’s something powerful about knowing they have one another.

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“We might not be feeling the same thing but we know we can share with each other how we’re feeling,” said Gascho.

Monday was the first day of summer classes and orientation for Gascho and some of her fellow social work graduate students at UNC-Charlotte.

Their teacher led a discussion encouraging them to share their thoughts about the night of April 30 when a gunman stormed into a classroom, killing two students and injuring four others.

“I still get chills just thinking about it. It takes your breath away, you get emotional. I have not walked past the building since and I don’t know if I’m ready to,” said graduate student Laura Jackson about the Kennedy building, where the deadly shooting occurred.

“I appreciated how everyone has reached out to one another and it is being talked about. It should be talked about and honored for the people who dealt with it,” said graduate student Monika Shontz.

McLeod was on campus during the shooting.

“I had got the text message to say, ‘Run, fight, hide. There’s a school shooter,’ so I walked to parking deck and sat in parking deck and waited.”

He says he learned the importance of preparation, but he doesn’t want to live his life in fear.

“If you think about it too much, you psych yourself out, You just can’t be too worried about it.”

It’s a new semester, but students will never forget last semester and the heroes who took down the gunman, fighting evil with courage.

“People saved people’s lives so that’s really good to hear that people here are willing to stand up for what matters,” said student Clinton Rivers.

The Kennedy building has not reopened to the public. It will not be open for summer classes.