MARYSVILLE, Wash. -- It’s been one year since a Marysville-Pilchuck High School student shot four of his classmates and then turned the gun on himself.
It’s a day the community will never forget. But Friday night, they found a way to come together as part of the healing process.
A football game might seem like an unlikely place to grieve. But one student explained why she wanted to be in the stands one year after the shooting that changed everything at Marysville-Pilchuck.
“I personally like to heal with other people,” says sophomore Bailey Nelson.
Marysville-Pilchuck on Friday night welcomed Oak Harbor High School, the team they were supposed to play on the night of the shooting last year. Oak Harbor forfeited that game as a sign of sportsmanship, so on Friday night the home team finally got to say thank you.
Then to the delight of the crowd, they got down to football.
“There’s no rulebook or playbook on how people grieve. Some days are better than others, you just try to move forward, do the best you can,” said coach Brandon Carson.
He says the past year has been difficult for many of the students at Marysville-Pilchuck. But he’s encouraged by the way sports have helped his players.
“It gives them something positive and productive to do, and it gives the community something to cheer about and rally behind.”
Community leaders say it’s the players and students who rally them.
“It’s such a positive to see how the kids are handling this situation,” says Tulalip tribal chairman Mel Sheldon. “We’re very proud of them.”
“Being around the kids is just really encouraging,” adds Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring. “They’re inspiring, their ability to move through this.”
The students say it has been an emotional week, but being together is what has helped the most.
“It’s weird being at school around this time, and knowing that last year was normal,” says Nelson. “But it’s also nice because we're with each other. That's our safe zone, being with the people from the school.”
On Saturday, the community will have another chance to come together. They’re having a walk of strength at the school, then will plant tulips to remember the victims.