20 Years Later: Community Remembers Lives Lost During Simon’s Rock Shooting

PeaceGrove

Published on: December 18, 2012

Katherine Corn

The Simon’s Rock community gathered in the Kellogg Music Center to celebrate the lives of Galen Gibson and Ñacuñán Sáez on Friday, Dec. 14, the 20th anniversary of the Simon’s Rock shooting.

“Friday’s memorial was a mix of sadness, reunion, catharsis, humor, homecoming and remembrance,” said Rich Montone, Annual Fund and Alumni Affairs Manager, who helped to organize the memorial.

The memorial began with a memorial piece written by Gabriel Gould ’90, a welcome from Nicole Fitting ’93, and readings from Professor Rebecca Fiske and Sarah Tomlinson ’91, who recently published a piece titled “Our School Shooting,” covering the shooting with twenty years of perspective.

Further readings, by Jay Sauerbrei ’91 and Mishka Shubaly ’92, and Opening the Door: A Remembrance, a musical work written by Gould in memory of Gibson, preceded an open sharing by those who sought to speak of Gibson and Sáez.

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni alike were moved to tears by the readings and speeches.

“It surely served the hearts of many alumni, staff, faculty and students here on campus,” Montone said. “But others in our Simon’s Rock community who were not on campus that day took comfort in knowing that a special ceremony was taking place on the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.”

Though Galen’s father, Gregory Gibson, sent his regards, attendees said that he would have liked to come but would have found it to be too difficult.

The memorial ended with a candlelit walk to the memorial grove, honoring the lives that were taken.

“I was moved by how many different people, and how many different campus departments and local businesses, stepped forward to volunteer time and goods in support of the memorial ceremony and the alumni visitors,” Montone said.