Campus community gathered to honor the anniversary of last year’s tragedy
December 10, 2014
The Washington and Lee community both mourned the loss and celebrated the life of Kelsey Durkin, who was killed one year ago from this past Wednesday in a car accident.
The Executive Committee hosted “A Night of Remembrance,” where students and faculty watched the Promise Committee’s video, featuring students involved and affected by the accident.
“The strength and support within the W&L community was shown at the onset of the event,” said Sammy Yates ‘15. “Students and faculty worked together to rearrange seating in order to accommodate for such a large turnout.”
Blue shirts and bracelets filled Evans Dining Hall, representing a Promise for Kelsey and the remembrance of her life. Students also wrote personal notes to the Durkin family to show their support.
“It was really hard to have those memories and feelings come back,” said Liza Georges ‘16, a member of Durkin’s sorority. “But looking around Evans Dining Hall and seeing all of the people—students, professors, even Traveller John—who came together to support one another last year reminded me of how unique the W&L community is and how appreciative I am to go to a school with such a tight-knit community.”
After the video, attendees solemnly gathered to light W&L’s Christmas tree and sing carols. Executive Committee President Lucy Wade Shapiro ‘15 expressed the connection between Durkin’s bright personality and the tree’s lights.
Many other students shared Shapiro’s thoughts and felt that the night was a way to bring the W&L community together.
“I think being together that night to honor Kelsey’s memory and commemorate the one year anniversary was really important – the sense of community reminded all of us that we weren’t alone, and that support really helped a lot of people,” said senior Ellen Gleason.
Blue flags lined the path to Lee Chapel as an additional symbol of remembrance. Shapiro announced at the gathering that the Durkin family is donating a sculpture to the school as a reminder of the Promise for Kelsey.
“The Remembrance for Kelsey was my first time watching the video made by the Promise Committee last spring, so I was taken a little off guard,” said Georges. “Seeing people I knew speaking about the accident brought me back to how I felt exactly one year ago that day when we all heard what had happened.”