RICHMOND, Ind. – Laughing over a box of pizza in the parking lot of the Boys and Girls Club, Dennis Intermediate School students Makenzie Desonie, Taylor Mikesell and Zoey Mikesell were all smiles. It’s a sight the girls’ parents were relieved to see.
“It’s like the first time I smiled since yesterday," said 8th grader Desonie. "It really brought me to like myself”
With school today closed, their parents decided to bring them to the Boys and Girls Club, which offered counseling to Dennis students.
"It's heart wrenching to start your day off with 'there's a shooter at your child's school.' It's not something you could ever prepare for in life," said mother Karrie Mikesell. "It was devastating, but were gonna work through it. We’re gonna get our kids help if they need it, and we’re gonna move forward.”
Inside, the girls said it felt good opening up about the horrifying moments just a day ago, moments that still weigh heavily on their minds.
"We talked about how I felt when it happened," said 5th grader Zoey Mikesell before pausing to collect her thoughts. "It's a little weird talking about it.”
However, as Karrie knows, talking about it is just what her kids need.
"Opening up to them as parents, talking to them and letting them know that they can always talk about it, there’s always an outlet there and it is good to do that,” Mikesell said. "I think it was really beneficial and the people were really great to come out and do this for our kids. It really shows how Richmond is uniting together, it’s really great.”
“It was hard yesterday, but it was an eye opener," Desonie said. "We really showed how much we needed each other yesterday and I'm proud of that.”
Mikesell knows her family and community will get through this. Although school will never be the same, she can look at how her kids are responding, knowing it will get better.
“I feel a lot better than I did yesterday," Desonie said. "I don't feel so isolated anymore, I feel like I'm ok.... I’ll be ok.”
Dennis Intermediate School will remain closed on Monday, they will return to school on Tuesday before the first day of winter break on Thursday.