"Her love was so widespread, her smile and beauty contagious," said Heather Root Wheeler, a relative of Melissa Jenkins, who was murdered a year ago.
"The mood was somber to begin with as you can imagine and expect," said St. Johnsbury Academy Headmaster Tom Lovett. "And I think that as soon as people began to think about Ty, especially, and think about how we move this forward and come out of our grief, I think there was some hopefulness towards the end," Lovett said.
There were performances, tears, and celebrating a life that touched so many.
"Today we celebrate Melissa's gift to us. Her love, her spirit, and her message," Lovett said.
That message was displayed throughout Fuller Hall, and across the rest of campus. It's known as "Melissa's Challenge." A challenge to love those the most who need it the most. It's a phrase many will remember her by, and strive to live by.
"It's hard. We've been trying to focus on the message," Lovett said. "It is really a great message for young people to learn early and they embrace it. Love wins resonated, and loving those the most who need it the most has really changed our school community for the better."
Lizzie Moye was a student while Jenkins taught at the Academy. Moye says the last year has been extremely difficult for her classmates but the phrase has helped many get through this tough time.
"To really love and see the good in people. And I think it is so hard to find something good in such a difficult situation. But I think that helps us do that," Moye said.
A phrase that is helping those in pain to look forward to brighter futures, and begin to help understand a painful past.
"That has overwhelmed me. The hatred that I didn't know I had, it even started to destroy me. But we cannot let evil and hatred win. Because love wins," Meredith Root Berry said. Berry is a cousin of Jenkins.
Moye says that the entire St. Johnsbury community will continue to move forward together and never forget their beloved Melissa Jenkins. And, the phrase she lived by, and will continue to inspire others to live by. Love those the most, who need it the most.
Allen and Patricia Prue, of Waterford, are charged with Jenkins' murder. The trial for Patricia Prue is schedule for this summer.
Friday, December 6 2013 11:05 AM EST2013-12-06 16:05:53 GMT
Vermont police have charged a Vernon man for a car crash back in June that killed his passenger.Police say Edward Class, 20, crossed the center line on Route 142 in Vernon and collided with an oncomingMore >>
Vermont police have charged a Vernon man for a car crash back in June that killed his passenger.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:21 AM EST2013-12-06 15:21:30 GMT
Dozens of Vermont nurses are headed to the Philippines to help victims of a deadly storm. Last month, a typhoon tore across the eastern Philippines, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands. TheMore >>
Dozens of Vermont nurses are headed to the Philippines to help victims of a deadly storm.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:12 AM EST2013-12-06 15:12:36 GMT
A plea deal may be in the works for the man who police say torched a Burlington bell tower. The College Street Congregational Church was badly damaged back in October by a fire investigators say was arson.More >>
A plea deal may be in the works for the man who police say torched a Burlington bell tower.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:11 AM EST2013-12-06 15:11:41 GMT
A Vermont family is homeless after fire destroyed their Concord home. Officials say the fire broke out Thursday afternoon on Ladd Road just before 4 p.m. By the time fire crews arrived on the scene theMore >>
A Vermont family is homeless after fire destroyed their Concord home.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:06 AM EST2013-12-06 15:06:19 GMT
Police are looking for a Burlington man who may be behind a robbery back in November. Police say three armed men targeted the home on Summit Street the night of November 18 and took property out by force.More >>
Police are looking for a Burlington man who may be behind a robbery back in November.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:03 AM EST2013-12-06 15:03:04 GMT
A welfare check turned into a dangerous situation in Brattleboro. Officers were called to Valley Street Thursday to check on a 39-year-old woman. While on the scene, police say the woman grabbed a largeMore >>
A welfare check turned into a dangerous situation in Brattleboro.More >>