WILDWOOD, MO - When the news about last week’s school shooting at a California high school broke, Eureka High School student Payton Deakin had no idea how much the shooting would hit home. One of the two victims killed was a former classmate. 15-year-old Gracie Muelberger once attended Fairway Elementary in the Rockwood School District with Deakin.
“I was in shock,” she said. “I couldn’t express my emotions. It was so strong because I was so close to her. It just hurt a lot.”
Former grade school classmate Isabella Cabbabe said it doesn’t seem possible her former friend’s life could be taken, “For the past few days it really hasn’t left my mind. It’s a terrible thing and I hope that her family is okay,” said Cabbabe.
She and other former classmates are trying to remember the good times including swing set competitions and basement parties.
“I just remember her being super happy all the time,” said former grade school classmate Zoe Martin. “I mean any time you would meet her, she would give off this energy.”
Her former classmates also hope to send a message to Gracie’s family and friends in California.
“I want her family to know that it will be okay and that she has so many people around her that loved her so much,” said Deakin. “She’s in a better place.”
Gracie’s family has started a GoFundMe page to help honor her memory.
The principal at Fairway Elementary is Dr. Lorinda Krey. She released the following statement to the school community:
"I'm so sorry to share such sad news. We will do anything needed to support our Fairway community as they learn about this and mourn the loss of this sweet girl and former Eagle. As word is spreading, I'm receiving many texts and emails from staff who had Gracie and her brothers in class, as well as parents in the Fairway community."