North Texas Daily

Community mourns bus crash victims

Community mourns bus crash victims

Community mourns bus crash victims
September 29
23:59 2014

Rhiannon Saegert / Senior Staff Writer

North Central Texas College’s Gainesville campus is quiet, tight-knit and small. At 132 acres, it’s the smallest NCTC campus. History freshman Brandon Jones said in such a small, residential college, the cliché “everybody knows everybody” is true.

Jones was with a trainer who was supposed to be on the bus that crashed over the weekend returning from a scrimmage in Oklahoma, killing four members of the school’s softball team, the night the news broke.

“She [the trainer] was coming up to the dorms and an RA came down and said, ‘Hey, don’t go up there,’” Jones said. “And she was like, ‘Why?’ and he was like, ‘We’ve got some bad news.’”

Jones has been attending NCTC on and off for three years. He said news of the accident first reached the athletics students in Bonner Hall on Friday night. The students then alerted the rest of the campus.

“He took her into the next room, told her, and then she ran up the stairs,” Jones said. “She goes up there, and everyone starts freaking out. She comes down and calls everybody. Dr. Wallace, [director of student life] Daisy Garcia, everybody. After that it’s all kind of a blur.”

On Monday, NCTC Gainesville students returned to class after a weekend of vigils.

“For us right now, the best term I’ve been able to find is ‘a feeling of numbness,’ a feeling that’s just surreal,” campus president Brent Wallace said. “We’re just trying to get back to some semblance of normal while still meeting the needs of these students, especially as the softball girls begin to return next week.”

Wallace said some of the softball team members are still recovering from injuries, and others are at home with their families. He said counselors from every NCTC campus have come to the Gainesville location to help students deal with the tragedy and meet with the deceased students’ classmates.

“Of course, the students who are on campus right now are ones who knew the girls,” Wallace said. “They’re trying to support each other, build each other up with their friends not here yet, and getting prepared for when they return. You can see that there’s still a sadness there.”

Jones said the athletics students generally take Tuesday-Thursday classes. As a result, they have had an extra day to grieve before returning to class.

Equine science sophomore Hannah Bain said she lives off-campus and isn’t very involved with campus life, but she still sees evidence of the tragedy throughout the community.

“It’s really upsetting,” Bain said. “I have two kids, and thinking about the parents who lost their kiddos who were just going to a scrimmage and then coming home. It’s totally devastating.”

Bain said she attended a horse show the day after the crash, where they began with a prayer and a moment of silence for the deceased students. She said Gainesville residents are finding other ways of showing support.

“There’s stores in downtown Gainesville that have ‘Pray for NCTC’ out front,” Bain said. “It’s wonderful how many people do care.”

Featured Image: One of several memorials around the Gainesville NCTC campus. The college lost four softball players in a bus crash over the weekend. Photo by Rhiannon Saegert – Senior Staff Writer

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