While the beginning of the school year is generally an exciting time for St. John’s students, the start of this year has been a somber one.
In the last month, tragedy has struck the St. John’s community three times. Alumna Karina Vetrano, and students Arshell Dennis III and Tiarah Poyau, each killed in acts of senseless violence.
Poyau and Dennis were both victims of gun violence and Vetrano was a victim of sexual assault and murder.
Each was loved and admired both inside and outside of the University community, which has become evident through the memorials dedicated to them.
Last Friday, the University held a mass honoring Vetrano, and is set to hold mass on Friday honoring Dennis.
We hope to see an announcement regarding a mass honoring Poyau soon.
All of their lives were cut far too short, but we believe their memory and legacy will carry on for years to come.
We at the Torch would like to extend our prayers, thoughts and hearts out to the families and friends of these three students.
We were all shocked to hear what happened.
Through tough times like these, we believe that as students and active members of this University, it is our duty to uphold the legacy of these students.
We should all try to embody the compassion, drive, and kindness of each of these people.
Kindness starts right on campus.
Whether it is holding the door for someone, giving directions, or letting someone cut in front of you in the Starbucks line, the deaths of Karina, Arshell, and Tiarah should serve as a reminder to always be compassionate toward others.
Let their legacy strengthen the community in this way.
As individuals we are all different, but as members of the St. John’s community we are one.
Now, more than ever, it is important to keep this in mind.
We are all members of the family that makes up the St. John’s community.
It is our duty to care for and respect one another.
Along with this, we believe that now is a time to reflect.
The cliche that life is short has never rang more true.
We urge our fellow students to live each day to the fullest; to never take anything for granted, and to cherish every single moment.
By living this way, as a community, we can honor those who lost their lives.
While the community mourns the deaths of Karina, Arshell and Tiarah, we must always look forward, act with compassion, and live life like there is no tomorrow.
Even though we can look to the future, life can be cut short at any moment.
With this in mind, we wish our fellow students a warm welcome to the new year.
We hope that all of you start the school year off with positive energy.
We ask that you keep these students in your thoughts, and uphold their legacies by embodying the traits that they have been so lovingly remembered for.