VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — From coast to coast, people are wrapping their arms around Virginia Beach.
For one group of students from Saint Thomas More School in Spokane, Washington that means leaving a memorial at the Oceanfront.
Their stop in the Beach community is part of their annual 10-day trip in Virginia. It’s a tradition that’s different this time, in light of Friday's mass shooting at the Municipal Center.
So, these 8th-grade students are pausing to pray for the shooting victims and their families. One at a time, they read each victim’s name out loud with a prayer.
“It’s very sad,” said Principal Doug Banks.
Banks said their home town is 3,000 miles away from Virginia Beach, and yet, the impact of the shooting resonates with them.
“I don’t know why I’m so emotional about it," he said. "I don’t know these people but in a sense, I do know these people.”
Banks said that as an educator, it’s a reminder to him that anyone from city workers to students is vulnerable to a shooting.
“We have to teach [students] a way to still be strong and still be hopeful and know that they can help.”
Even these teenagers understand the gravity of the situation.
”When we first heard it, [there] was like, a silence throughout our entire group,” said Katie Schmidt.
”It just makes you more nervous, but also makes you grateful for what you have,” added student Camila Arroyo.
Now flowers and posters are left beside at the Coast Guard Memorial on 24th and Atlantic Avenue.
It’s a memorial from students across the county, to remind the Beach community the next generation cares.