Lafayette High School, where slain student Trinity Gay attended classes, was a different place Monday, principal Bryne Jacobs said.
“We are proud of the legacy she left, and we are just heartbroken that she is not in our building any more,” Jacobs told reporters Monday at the school gym. “We’re a different place today than we were 48 hours ago. Her loss is felt.”
Jacobs said he had heard rumors Sunday that a Lafayette student had been shot, and he received confirmation about 9 a.m. Sunday that it was Trinity Gay, who is the daughter of Olympian and Lafayette graduate Tyson Gay.
A team of 18 grief counselors were at the school to talk with students who voluntarily wished to express their sense of loss.
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Students posted on social media that some were crying in the halls. Others were trying to figure out how to manage classes and track practice without the standout runner.
Hannah, a therapy dog owned by Southern Middle School counselor Robin Potter, was brought into the school so students could hug and pet her.
Hannah, a comfort retriever that is smaller than a normal golden retriever, “has probably brought more joy and calmness to our situation this morning than any of us professionals can,” said Velva Reed-Barker, a crisis team coordinator.
“She brings a calmness to a very difficult situation,” Reed-Barker said.
Lafayette has an enrollment of about 2,300 students.
Staff and administrators were also dealing with the shock and loss.
“Words cannot describe just how I feel,” said Crystal Washington, Trinity’s track coach. “Everything is taken away so suddenly. It’s unbelievable.”
Trinity was humble, said teacher Rhonda Mullins, who also taught Trinity’s parents, Tyson Gay and Shoshana Boyd. “No one would ever know she was Tyson Gay’s daughter.”
Trinity wanted to go into the medical profession, particularly to be a surgeon, Mullins said.
“I’m quite certain she would have been really good at that,” Mullins said.
Mullins said she last spoke with Trinity on Tuesday, when they made plans for a Halloween open house and carnival at the school.
“She was up there writing on the board and she had all of these ideas,” Mullins said. “She was so excited about that.”
Students said Trinity was “smart, energetic, and just a friend to so many kids,” Reed-Barker said.
Students also spoke with counselors about the violence in the community, Reed-Barker said.
“I’ve got a list of kids who want to meet with city officials and district to stop our violence in our community,” Reed-Barker said. “So I think something out of this tragedy with Trinity, we’ve got to turn it into something positive if we can.”