August 19, Honoring Our Lost Wildcats

Dear Oxford School Community,

Hana, Justin, Madisyn, and Tate will remain in our thoughts and in our hearts always.  Remembering these students and all the beauty they exuded is something that will never cease. On the evening of Friday, August 26 a transitional memorial will be installed in the Performing Arts Center at Oxford High School honoring these exceptional individuals and their legacies to be carried on.  It has been with extreme care in working with each of Hana’s, Justin’s, Madisyn’s and Tate’s families that this memorial has been created.  It includes photos of each of our lost Wildcats chosen by their families along with a short remembrance from each of their families. Its location was chosen with the utmost respect and consideration of our entire school community based on the guidance received from mental health experts and those who have walked this road before us.

Special viewings of the memorial for the family members of those lost, those physically injured on November 30, and our OHS staff will take place by invitation only on Saturday, August 27, and the morning of Sunday, August 28. On Sunday, August 28, from 12 pm-4pm Oxford High School students and their families are invited to come to OHS to view the memorial.  On Monday, August 29, OHS students and staff will have access to visiting the memorial before school, during lunch periods and after school in an ongoing fashion. Our school community may visit the memorial after school hours while the building is open for extracurricular activities. We would like to give special thanks to Signarama for their great efforts through the process to create this beautiful tribute to Hana, Justin, Tate, and Madisyn.

This transitional memorial will remain in the Performing Arts Center until the permanent memorial within our community is completed.  Although the step of creating a transitional memorial is not one that occurs in most other communities who have endured such a tragedy, realizing that permanent memorials such as Columbine’s and Sandy Hook’s take years to plan, fundraise for, create, and install, we felt the need and heard the desire from our students and staff to create a memorial to honor and remember Hana, Justin, Madisyn, and Tate until the permanent one comes to completion. 

Additionally, this summer a tribute banner was hung in the Ian Smith gym to honor Hana, Justin, Tate and Madisyn thanks to the kind generosity of the Josten’s Company.  Also, four Cherry Blossom Trees were planted in June outside of the main entrance and north side of the high school to honor the four students who were taken from us in November.  Many students and student groups had brainstormed the idea of planting trees and fourth year OSEC Senior, Ryan Patterson, chose to turn this idea into his OSEC Capstone project.  Ryan’s detailed proposal took shape with the help from Matt Comparoni of Cutrite Lawncare and Landscaping who volunteered his time, staff and equipment to make it happen. Special thanks to David Soulliere of Landscape Source who donated the trees and to Don Nelson from Jan Steel Company who donated a sign that includes a quote that Ryan found, and others adored that is placed with the trees.

Furthermore, spaces within the high school are being created for OHS students to remember, reflect and heal together.  OHS students have been working together in the courtyards of the high school to clean them up, plant flowers and place tributes. Also, a Remembrance room is in the construction phase within the high school for students who would like some quiet time and remember their lost friends. Students will have the opportunity throughout the year to help make this room inviting and a space that helps with their healing.  It is located next to our new Recovery Coordinator, Laura Azoni’s office in the front portion of the school near the counseling department.

May we all honor the lives of Hana, Justin, Madisyn and Tate through our actions to love and serve one another as they did. They will always in our hearts, for there are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone their light remains.


Ken Weaver
Oxford Community Schools