Neighbors pay respects at Minnehaha Academy

With the disaster over at Minnehaha Academy and the difficult work of rebuilding beginning, the community enters a period of reflection.

With two staff members killed in the rubble, alumni, neighbors, and even some people who had no connection to the school stopped by Thursday to pay their respects, sharing emotional stories of the times they shared in those hallways--and beyond.

Paul Langenfeld didn't go to Minnehaha Academy, but living in the neighborhood, he walked, ran and drove around the campus often, the building slowly becoming a part of his life in myriad ways. 

Thursday, he hung a bouquet of Easter Lilies on the fence near Minnehaha Academy, hoping to bring a little joy for the people gathered there to mourn. 

"Yes it's about death and yes, it's about tragedy, but every Christian weds that to resurrection," he said. "So I said let's put some Easter lilies on there and let's make this about hope, and not just about death but about life after."  

Stephanie O'Brien was Stephanie Williams until just a few months ago, her wedding ceremony taking place inside the Minnehaha Academy gym. For many, the destruction of a place that has meant so much takes on a completely different meaning.

"It's hard to even explain what it's like that something like this happened," she said. "Four months ago we got married there. It's bizarre to think about the damage that's been done and the lives that were lost and the people that this is affected by."

A GoFundMe page has been started to help the school rebuild, you can find it here.