Students Gather in Prayer | News, Sports, Jobs

Correspondent Photo/Sean Barron Emily Wilaj, right, and Haley Cutter, both Lowellville High School aged, embrace after Friday night’s prayer service for healing at Our Lady of the Holy Church -Rosary in Lowellville.

LOWELLVILLE — Samantha Moore wants others to realize that when a student is in crisis, having the courage to step up and say something nice or flattering to that person can be a game changer in possibly preventing a tragedy.

“I went to school, and the number of people willing to help me was incredible,” Moore, a high school student from Lowellville, watched.

She was also among approximately 100 students and others who attended the gathering for the Friday evening healing prayer service at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, 131 E. Wood St., primarily to take comfort from the trauma associated with an incident in which a student shot himself in the head around 10:17 a.m. Thursday in the cafeteria.

Another student said the victim fired at the ground before turning the gun on himself with a single shot to the head. No one else was hurt.

After the shooting, many counselors were at the school providing assistance to those affected by the shooting.

Moore said after the 20-minute church service that the victim was also part of the school band. He played the trombone, she added.

Neither Moore nor his senior colleagues Emily Wilaj and Haley Cutter detected anything abnormal in the victim’s behavior or actions. Instead, his behavior seemed normal, like when he simply told one of his teachers about his grades shortly before the shooting, Moore recalled.

“He was surrounded by good people and he was a good boy” Willaj added.

Although she had no interaction with the victim, Cutter said she was traumatized by the suddenness of the shooting and added that she knew people who were good friends with the victim.

Cutter also said it was vital that support continues to be provided and that others come together for the good of the community.

“I spoke to my mother immediately after she picked me up. She was a great support. Willaj said.

“He always seemed so happy, and it was so sudden. He seemed to come out of nowhere,” Evan Alfano, a junior from Lowellville, remembers.

Alfano, who spoke with someone about his feelings related to the incident, advised others to speak to someone they trust if they were experiencing trauma. No matter who; the important thing is to refrain from keeping such feelings locked away, he observed.

Alfano said Thursday’s shooting also highlighted the importance of certain aspects of everyday life that are otherwise easy to take for granted.

“Hanging out with your friends means so much more when something like this happens,” he added.

Patricia Lucente, a communion minister at the church and a longtime carer, said it’s not enough for people to come together after such a tragedy, but to stick together for the long term. It is also essential, especially for boys, to know that it is okay to risk being vulnerable by sharing their true feelings, she added.

“Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s a succession of depression or sadness, talk to someone. because holding back such strong feelings is akin to “poison your system”, explains Lucente.

Reverend Stephen Zeigler, pastor of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, led the service, which read Isaiah 41:5-10, which essentially speaks of the power of neighbors helping each other in times of trouble and peril, as well as how God will strengthen and sustain them.

Zeigler also prayed for those affected by Thursday’s tragedy and stressed the importance of seeking God’s love, strength and courage.

He added that the church will remain open to those who need solitude and a place to reflect.

Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox

Leave a Reply