Germany – March 26, 2015 – Every Wednesday, students would make their way past the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium to get to their respective classrooms, chatting with one another, laughing at jokes being thrown and just enjoying the typical school life. But this Wednesday, the whole atmosphere of the school changed. Instead of the noise that everyone has grown accustomed to, there was only silence. Silence as they made their way holding photographs and flowers. Group by group they would lay their tributes for their fallen classmates as they held each other and wallowed in their tears.
A week before this, 16 happy students were sent on a trip to Spain by the school as part of an exchange program. But the school exchange that was planned ended up with the students exchanging their lives permanently.
In the French Alps, about 620 away from the school at the small German town of Haltern, the Germanwings flight that carried the students along with their two teachers, crashed.
When headmaster Ulrich Wessel had heard of the news about the crash, he had first hoped that there was another Germanwings flight and that his students are there in the safety of their seats. But the worst was finally confirmed, the news had left him stunned and speechless. The entire community was devastated and the whole school, especially the classmates of the victims, struggled to understand their loss.
All of the 16 teenagers, 14 girls and 2 boys, were killed along with their chaperones. Another saddening news was that one of the chaperones has just recently been married.
As the news of the crash spread through the town, the front of the school became a makeshift memorial to remember the lives of the victims. Different people would put red and white candles as well as some notes and painted signs.
One of the signs says: “Yesterday, we were many. Today, we are alone. Why?”
The message was simple yet so painful to read.
One of the classmates of the victims said that she knew most of the victims and that they were in her grade. She was close to some of them, in fact.
She said that they had already planned their futures but unfortunately, that would go on unfulfilled for the fallen teenagers.