Isle students return to Virginia Tech campus
Aside from the extra display of Virginia Tech's school colors of orange and maroon, campus life was slowly getting back to normal for two freshmen from the islands as they returned to classes yesterday, a week after the deadly shooting spree.
"Every tree has a ribbon on it," said 2006 Kailua High School graduate Andrew Ton. "It feels like everyone is a bit closer, like an unspoken bond."
After leaving the campus last week when the university canceled classes, the two Hawaii high school graduates returned to find their campus changed and their spirits stronger.
"I was happy to come back just to be with everybody again," said 2006 Moanalua High School graduate Jessamy Oxley.
Virginia Tech's Drillfield is lined with tents and messages for the 32 victims. Dozens of reporters and photographers are still on the campus, but some things seemed almost normal, the students said. Sunbathers were sprawled out on the nice spring day, and students were talking about things other than the shooting, Oxley said.
In classes, though, professors told their students that they were proud each of them returned and discussed the remaining weeks of the semester, Ton said.
Students now have the option for each class whether to accept their final grade based on their performance up until now or to take their final examination. Ton and Oxley said they will likely opt out of some of their exams.
Ton will attend the funeral services tomorrow for Matthew La Porte, a fellow member in the Corps of Cadets who was killed in Norris Hall.
And the tragedy continues to bring Virginia Tech students on the campus together in their grief.
Ton and Oxley, who have never met, plan on eating dinner together tonight at the campus' dining hall to "just talk story," Ton said.