HELP AVAILABLE AT NW SCHOOL

Mesa Verde students mourn Christina-Taylor Green, 9

2011-01-11T00:00:00Z Mesa Verde students mourn Christina-Taylor Green, 9Brady McCombs and Tom Beal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 11, 2011 12:00 am  • 

The city remained steeped in sadness Monday, but through their tears, Tucsonans came together and began to heal.

In the morning, teddy bears and roses adorned the fence outside the elementary school that shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green attended. Signs on the chain-link fence outside Mesa Verde Elementary School, at 1661 W. Sage St. on the northwest side, included scrawled messages such as, "Christina, we will miss you Love, CDO pirates," with a picture of the Little League baseball team on which Christina-Taylor played.

Inside, the staff tried to help the 380 children in mourning the loss their classmate while maintaining a regular school day.

"It's vitally important for us that we keep things as normal as possible for the kids," Amphitheater Public Schools spokesman Todd Jaeger said. "Let them know that they are safe and that we are here to answer questions for them."

Seven psychologists were on the campus, working with staff members and students. Teachers read a prepared statement about the tragedy, tailored for each grade level, Jaeger said.

At 9 a.m., a group of students walked onto the schoolyard with their teacher and stood in a circle to observe the nationwide moment of silence that President Obama called for all victims of Saturday's deadly shooting in northwest metro Tucson.

Bill and Barbara Cogley, whose 6-year-old granddaughter, Kayde Cogley, attends Mesa Verde, visited the campus to give their granddaughter a hug.

"We knew she just found out this morning before going to school, so we wanted to pop in and make sure she was OK," Barbara Cogley said.

Christina-Taylor, 9, was a third-grader and a newly elected member of the student council.

Despite the heartbreak of losing a classmate, students were coping, Jaeger said. "Kids are remarkably resilient little creatures."

On Monday evening, the weekly Meet Me at Maynards walk and run downtown carried on, but with a new purpose.

Sarah Richelson, who usually runs in the weekly event, walked with her sister, Julie, and friend, Wesley Jones. Each held a candle in memory of those killed Saturday, including Richelson's friend, Gabe Zimmerman.

"He was an amazing person," Richelson said. He didn't just help people in his role as community-outreach director for Giffords, but in his personal life and as a volunteer, she said.

Zimmerman was a runner who recently did the Mount Lemmon Marathon.

Support services available to Tucsonans

• The Community Partnership of Southern Arizona has set up a tragedy-support line that is free and open around the clock: 284-3517.

• The Dignity Memorial network of funeral, cremation and cemetery providers is making its 24-hour help line available for free grief counseling: 1-800-854-8080.

• Counselors are available by appointment to help the University of Arizona community, said Darci Thompson, director of UA Life & Work Connections, a support service for employees.

Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or bmccombs@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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