Why does Tragedy have to be the Impetus for Positivity


Photo by Lizzy Goldstein Insta: @lizzygphotography

Maddie Blank, Staff Writer, Business Manager

There is no lack of tragedy in the world today, but one occurring in the place we call home, Charlottesville Virginia, has permanently impacted our community. Flowers on Beta Bridge, memorials on the Corner, even Black Knight Madness, all actions bringing the community together, but all in reaction to  violence. Whether it’s a high school fight or a mass shooting, why do communities seem  to come together after tragedy strikes? 

Over the past 10 years, the Charlottesville community has had a lot of devastating events, , from the Unite the Right rally, to Yeardley Love, to the more recent shooting a couple weeks ago. Our community has come together to mourn these tragedies. Not only in Charlottesville, but around the country: as college athletes wear the numbers 1, 15, and 41 on their jerseys to help honor the fallen football players,and professional athletes honoring them by wearing their numbers on their shoes. Locally, there have been vigils, support groups, memorials including beta bridge, the lawn, and Scott Stadium. Charlottesville High School Guidance Counselor, Mr. Towler shared his experience walking around grounds the past couple of weeks: “I walked through the UVA campus[grounds] and it was very eye opening not only the campus[grounds] but the community is still hurting.” While the national and even the local news are no longer talking about the horrific events, everywhere you look in Charlottesville, it is obvious the community is still in pain and the healing process is just now starting. 

Charlottesville High School on a smaller scale has faced a lot of violence recently with a record number of fights and three lockdowns in the first month of school. In order to combat the altercations and improve the sense of community at CHS, 11th graders in English came up with the idea of doing Black Knight Madness; a community event promoting the basketball team while also fundraising for food banks. In the end, around 75 meals were donated. There has been a push for more events like this to allow a better sense of community. When students were asked about what they want to see in the future at  CHS, there were many suggestions. Lea Bricker, a junior stated: “I want to see more school pep rallies and more school events” another student stated “I want to see more competition, like more activities to play sports together when you are not necessarily an athlete”

While generally the community can agree that tragic events bring together societies, the student body and teachers give their reasoning for why this is the case and how they want to see change in the community. Bricker stated: “I think people are not thinking about the issues all of the time because it can be uncomfortable to think about, but once it happens right before our eyes we experience the sadness, it brings us all together to support each other.”As individuals, we all have  our own paths and will experience different hardships. However, when we face hardship as a community it leads everyone to experience l similar emotions, which  allows us to understand one another beyond the first layer. Mr. Towler offered similar thoughts: “People are naturally visual, and emotions are internal so it is hard to gauge and see [how people are feeling]. You may walk into class with a bad day because something happened at home and come in with a smile”

Moving forward, there is a lot of growth that will need to take place, emotionally, physically, even in legislation. Mr. Towler provided his opinion on students taking action and how the CHS community can continue to grow: “People want to see a difference. They don’t want to see this madness. Once you get students comfortable to talk about the incidents in our communities and at school, students want to see a change too, students want to feel safe, students actually do care about each other. I believe there is a desire to make things better. There is just a lack of guidance to do that. There needs to be vulnerability where students say “ok this happened this impacted me and I want to see a change.” The incidents brought a lot of awareness and I saw a lot of students take actions.” The student body at Charlottesville High School plays a huge part in this, and we must continue to listen to each other and always remember kindness. These tragic events have the ability to lead us to resolutions that will ensure they never happen again. 

 As we progress and navigate this challenging time in our community it’s important to understand mental health struggles and where to find help. Beneath are some resources to help mentally heal from the tragedies: Suicide help line 988; https://mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america; CHS guidance counselors.