Central Visual and Performing Arts High School returned to class virtually on Monday for the first time since the deadly school shooting three weeks ago.
ST. LOUIS — Central Visual and Performing Arts High School (CVPA) returned to class virtually on Monday for the first time since the deadly school shooting three weeks ago.
Three people, including the shooter, died and six others were injured. The shooter killed student Alexzandria Bell and teacher Jean Kuczka.
5 On Your Side followed up with Rayquan Strickland, a CVPA senior who survived the shooting, after his virtual return.
“Now…here I am…back outside my home…my school home,” he said.
Strickland is holding onto his music in this transition after tragedy.
“We’re not a fan of virtual, it’s not us,” he said. “We like to be together.”
Education leaders across the state reflected on this day, like American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten who visited the school’s memorial site.
“We still have triumph in our tragedy through our creativity and our gifts,” Strickland said.
Although Strickland still has his music, he said day one of learning at home and apart from his school was challenging.
“It was difficult when we don’t have that resource,” he said.
He’s also reflecting on moments of unity from the first day back, such as sitting through the same advanced placement or AP class he was in — with the same teacher and students — when the shooting happened.
“I was just full of gratitude to be able to hear her voice…to be able to hear the other students…see the same students I was in this situation with,” he said.
For Strickland, no computer screen or distance can silence his music.
“Monday through Friday isn’t what controls our gifts, a school building isn’t what controls our gifts,” he said. “We are in control of our gifts.”
The district said CVPA will remain virtual this week before a week of no class for Thanksgiving break.
It also said it’s working on CVPA’s plans for the weeks following Thanksgiving break.
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