AUGUSTA Ga (WJBF)- Monday, Josey High School, Murphy Middle and the Marion Barnes Career Center are back open to students.
Last Wednesday, a shooting happened following a fight in the school’s cafeteria. A student was shot in the finger and a 16-year-old was arrested. Thursday and Friday, the school remained closed to students.
NewsChannel 6’s Kim Vickers was there early this morning and noticed that as faculty was starting to arrive, so were many adults, including Augusta Mayor Garnett Johnson. They told her they were there to pray for the students and staff as they returned to the scene of last week’s shooting.
“When it happened I was thinking about transferring, because I was scared,” said Makayla Booker, a senior at Josey.
After last week’s shooting at Josey High school, so many students like Booker were afraid to return to school Monday morning. But when they arrived they found community members there to support them.
“And just concerned individuals who, today, wanted to come out and support our students at Josey, our educators at Josey. And really just send a message that we are in unity with them and that we are praying for them for a successful and safe school year,” explained Vanessa Stanley, executive director of the Augusta Community Outreach Consortium.
Dozens of area church members, business leaders, school leaders, and government leaders, including Augusta Mayor Garnett Johnson, showed up to pray and sing. As students started to arrive, the group cheered for them as they entered the school.
“We want to encourage them and let them know they are not standing alone, that we believe in the power of prayer,” said Stanley.
Josey High School Alumni Association president, Abe Gibbons, graduated in 1967. He said the alumni do their best to help students throughout the year by providing clothes, school supplies and mentoring.
“We reach out to let them know that we care, that they are loved and that they are our most important product for the whole community.”
Gibbons said Josey Alumni show up for each other, no matter what.
“Can you see what this says?”
“Life. So that means that’s I’m a life member and these kids, they are our future. So we have to encourage them. We have to show them that we are behind them.”
As for Booker, she said she isn’t going to let fear stop her from finishing her education.
“I’m gonna go back because I don’t want my senior year to get jeopardized because of an incident.”
Once the final bell rang for Josey students, the group moved to nearby Murphy Middle to welcome those students back as well.
Photojournalist: Will Baker.