Emotions were running high on Monday in front of Dawson. Flowers stacked one upon the other as the pile grew higher with each passing day.
Twin sisters Suzie and Robin Rozon joined their fellow Dawson classmates as the school was officially reopened. Faculty and staff cheered and clapped as students made their way through the doors at the De Maisonneuve Blvd. entrance at 12:41 p.m., the exact time Kimveer Gill breached the atrium doors last Wednesday.
That day, Robin’s teacher had kept her class in detention for an extra ten minutes.
“That man saved our lives. If he hadn’t kept us in [the classroom], we would have been out in the Atrium eating lunch with everyone else when the shooting happened,” she said.
A week later, students took back their school with a symbolic march. “It was an awesome idea. My sister and I and most of our friends were there. It gave us control of the situation,” said Suzie, after her and Robin marched into their college.
Alice Wydrych, 17, a law and society student, survived the shooting with a minor injury – a sprained wrist. Admitting that she was still afraid, she was nonetheless determined to return to class.
“We can’t let the killer win,” she said. “If we don’t show up, then he’ll [have gotten] what he wanted. He will have inflicted fear upon us. But we can’t show fear. Dawson must stand together.”
Wydrych still had compassion for her classmates that didn’t follow her into the building. She also understands that some students may never want to step into the building again.
“It’s not going the be the same,” she said. “You get here, and all you’re thinking is, ‘I was there 3 or 4 days ago, running for my f-king life’.”
A second-year student who wished to remain anonymous said she wants to go back, but is scared.
“Not that it’ll happen again,” she added. “But to be in the place where it happened…” Her voice trailed off.
“When we were evacuated, we had to step over the blood.”
The memories will be hard to erase.