Marist College is hosting a campus wide memorial service on Wednesday to remember and celebrate the lives of three students who died Saturday in an off-campus apartment fire. Our John Wagner has the details.
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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- An emotional, trying week as Marist College resumes classes and with it, a sense of normalcy. But after three 21-one-year old students died in a fire over the weekend, a disheartened campus is left trying to cope with tragedy.
"I went to organic chemistry and we started out really slowly and somberly," said Mick Kastner, a junior bio-med major. "And our teacher had to take a moment to collect herself, so I've really seen a huge mood shift within my classes, my friends."
Eva Block of Woodbridge, Connecticut, Kevin Johnson of New Canaan, Connecticut and Kerry Fitzsimons of Commack, New York are to be honored Wednesday by fellow students. The three were well known within Marist's tight-knit community of five thousand undergrads.
"Not one bad thing you can say about either of them and people will remember them for being happy," said Nadia Ackbralai, a senior classmate with Eva Block and Kerry Fitzsimons.
"I think the best word is shock, most students are stunned. Most people just appreciate life more," said senior Kara Lightowler, a friend of Eva Block.
Due to an overwhelming response from the Marist community, the memorial service has been moved from the campus chapel to the much larger McCann Center. It will begin Wednesday morning at 11:15.
"We're coming together to remember those family members, to support their family and to give each other strength to deal with this terrible loss," said the Marist College President Dennis J. Murray.
Marist has set up grieving rooms and extended their counseling center hours. Funerals will be held on Friday for Kevin Johnson in Connecticut and Kerry Fitzsimons on Long Island. But students say only time can heal these wounds.
"There's a lot of sense of sadness and just kind of like hopeless," said senior Chrissy Cavallo, a merchandising major and a friend of Eva Block.