Dec 202012
 

Published Thu, Dec 20, 2012 12:03 AM

Caulton Tudor – staff columnist – ctudor@newsobserver.com

Game site aside, one of the reasons why Louisiana-Lafayette is such a solid favorite to beat East Carolina in Saturday’s New Orleans R+L Carriers Bowl can be traced to a loss by the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Florida’s 27-20 win on Nov. 20 in Gainesville did more to elevate Louisiana-Lafayette’s football profile than any of the Cajuns’ eight wins or 6-2 record in the deceptively potent Sun Belt Conference.

ULL was 5-3 overall and a 28-point underdog against the then-7th-ranked Gators, who finished 11-1 and will face Louisville in the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl.

The Cajuns outplayed Florida the entire game, leading 17-13 in the third quarter and 20-13 in the fourth. The Associated Press game account said a loss would have rated as the biggest upset loss in Florida history.

But the Gators scored with 1:42 left to tie the game and then won on the next-to-last play when Jelani Jenkins returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a touchdown with 2 seconds remaining.

Florida fans rushed the field in the sort of celebration normally reserved for big SEC wins.

“Anytime you see the seventh-ranked team in the country storm the field like they won the Super Bowl to beat you, you know you’re doing some good things,” second-year Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said in his postgame remarks.

Hudspeth’s team won its final three games, averaging almost 40 points and are favored by seven over the Conference USA Pirates (8-4, 7-1) in the noon bowl in the Superdome. ULL won the same bowl last year, 32-20 over San Diego State.

Ruffin McNeill’s third ECU team is also on a three-game win streak but narrowly so, having outscored Houston, Tulane and Marshall by a collective 141-110 after absorbing a 56-28 loss to Navy on Oct. 27.

The bowl will double as the latest referendum on the Pirates’ defense. Until a 42-35 escape at Alabama-Birmingham – one week before the wipeout against Navy – McNeill and his defensive staff were confident progress was being made.

But a double-overtime 65-59 win in Greenville over Marshall on Nov. 23 was perplexing.

Marshall scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and finished with a stunning 633 yards of offense even though lightly used freshman quarterback Blake Frohnapfel had to play much of the second half after all-star candidate Rakeem Cato was injured.

Against Cajuns quarterback Terrance Broadway, the Pirate defense will face a player with much the same skill set as Cato.

Broadway, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound transfer from Houston, completed 16 of 23 passes for 171 yards and was sacked only once in the game at Florida. In a 52-30 regular-season ending win over South Alabama, Broadway threw for 305 yards on 19 attempts and rushed for 65 yards.

It’s not a must-win game for McNeill or his program, but some degree of defensive improvement would go far in setting an upbeat mood for spring practice.

ECU’s offense – led by sophomore quarterback Shane Carden, junior running back Vin Cooper, sophomore receiver Justin Hardy and freshman receiver Jabril Solomon – could be the best in Conference USA next season.

But for the third straight season, defense remains the Pirates’ X factor.

Tudor: 919-829-8946

via Tudor: ECU bowl foe turned stinging loss into late gain – Tudor – NewsObserver.com.

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Dec 202012
 

Modified Thu, Dec 20, 2012 05:44 AM

By Dan Kane – dkane@newsobserver.com

Three months ago, after the disclosure of former UNC-Chapel Hill two-sport star Julius Peppers’ academic transcript, Chancellor Holden Thorp tapped a former governor to dig deeper into an academic fraud scandal that suddenly appeared to reach into three decades.

Jim Martin, a two-term Republican who began his career as a chemistry professor at Davidson College, is expected to deliver his findings Thursday in meetings with the university’s Board of Trustees and a UNC Board of Governors special panel that is looking into the scandal. He, Thorp and a representative from a national management consulting firm assisting Martin are also expected to take questions from the media.

Expectations are high for this report, largely because Thorp has given numerous indications that Martin would have the authority and access to tackle anything he sees fit. Thorp has sent Martin, for example, records obtained by The News & Observer that reflect the internal workings of the academic support program for student athletes, as well as information The N&O received from the university that showed athletes had packed into a Naval Weapons Systems class.

But the charge given to Martin was relatively narrow. An internal review released in May found 54 lecture-style classes that never met in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies over the past four years, plus a lack of accountability in the department for hundreds of independent studies offered over the years.

Peppers, who left the university in 2002 without graduating, had a transcript that showed Bs or better in classes that had been identified in the report as suspect, while performing poorly in many of his remaining classes.

Martin was required to “examine academic years before 2007 for similar patterns indicating additional irregularity or aberrantly taught classes, if any.”

It also says that the university’s and its board of trustees’ “primary concern is that all students receive a high-quality Carolina education. We are concerned about our student-athletes and our non-athlete students. We ask that you review and identify patterns of concern regarding all students.”

As a result, some fear that Martin’s report will not get to the heart of what caused the no-show classes and questionable independent studies, and how they were used by athletes and their counselors in the academic support program. Martin has suggested he will take on broader issues such as grade inflation and clustering around easy classes by athletes and non-athletes.

That information would be useful to the university but could also obscure the academic issues that may have started out with the goal of aiding athletes struggling to stay eligible, or wound up that way over time.

“My sense is they are looking at statistics, enrollment statistics, and maybe grade changes and the clustering phenomenon,” said Jay Smith, a UNC history professor who has been outspoken about the scandal. “I seriously doubt that they are going to pinpoint the problems. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but I’m not very hopeful.”

Kane: 919-829-4861

via Martin’s report could shed new light on UNC scandal – UNC scandal – NewsObserver.com.

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Dec 202012
 

By Nathan Summers

Thursday, December 20, 2012

METAIRIE, La. — After Wednesday’s late afternoon practice inside the New Orleans Saints training facility, East Carolina head football coach Ruffin McNeill reiterated his firm stance on player behavior in the days leading up to Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl.

In short, it is a zero tolerance plan, which means a majority of the city’s traditional tourist activities are not available to players who visited the city just a few weeks ago when they played Tulane but had precious little free time.

With the better part of week to spend in the Crescent City this time, however, Pirate players can still get some of the best flavors in town.

“I went out to Acme Oyster House and had some fresh oysters, and a little shrimp and oyster po’boy,” said ECU quarterback Shane Carden, who noted that he drove through New Orleans on the way to a football camp as a high school freshman but had never experienced the city until now. “Delicious food. It’s different, man. It’s really different down here.”

Carden wasn’t the only one chowing down in one of the world’s hubs of great cuisine on the Pirates’ first night in town.

Plenty of others converged on various well-known New Orleans eateries, and the overwhelming majority of them were tasting New Orleans for the first time.

“We had a wide variety of food, and I know the jambalaya was good,” said defensive end Lee Pegues, who stayed close to the team hotel and ate at the Harrah’s Casino along with line mate Chrishon Rose. “It was my first time having that, and the seafood was awesome too.”

After their lengthy practice, the players bussed back into New Orleans proper to go bowling at the city’s well-known Rock ’N Bowl on Wednesday, more proof that bowl weeks are a reward for players even though they have serious business at week’s end.

“It’s a very historic place, and we’ve been able to walk around and tour the French Quarter a little bit, and saw the old cathedral and Jackson Square, and it’s been a great experience in an area I’ve never been before,” punter Trent Tignor said. “With this bowl experience, it’s given us a little free time to go out and see what the local restaurants have to offer. I had some Cajun shrimp last night at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and it’s been fun.”

Like any great place, there is more to do in New Orleans than one could ever accomplish in a week, and even for football players, it’s not all about the food.

“I’ve never been to a place like this, with a hotel right by the Mississippi River,“ said Pegues, a South Carolina native who said he has also gotten some Christmas shopping out of the way this week. “I’m a person that likes to fish, so I’ve been wanting to go out there every morning and go fishing.”

Who dat?

Although they are strangers to New Orleans, ECU players were understandably excited to ply their trade at an NFL training compound on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Saints’ indoor practice field is adorned in mural-sized game photographs and a huge photo of head coach Sean Payton with the words “DO YOUR JOB” stenciled across it.

“It’s really cool just to be down here, practicing in an indoor facility,” Carden said. “I’ve never really had an opportunity to practice in something like this so it’s very cool. Just being around here, obviously a lot of great players have been in these facilities and it’s cool to practice where they have.”

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com or 252-329-9595.

via The Daily Reflector.

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Dec 202012
 

By Wesley Brown

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A civilian study group appointed to revive the Tar River university area spent much of its first meeting on Wednesday discussing parking, a time-sensitive issue the committee said it had a “thousand questions” about, but few answers on how to fix.

The board said it plans to launch an expansive review on parking in the newly formed University Overlay District, a 200-acre community of homes along East Fifth Street that the Greenville City Council decried in October as a “troubled” neighborhood in need of rebuilding.

The six-member group, organized to guide the implementation of the University Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, will begin its assessment on parking with a walkthrough of the Tar River area — weather permitting — on Jan. 15 at 2 p.m.

The committee plans to meet at the old City Market to take a 45-minute tour of the neighborhood to get a better visual of the community’s needs and its parking and code -enforcement problems.

“I have a thousand questions when it comes to parking,” said James C. Sullivan, who agreed to serve on the committee as a member of the Tar River University Neighborhood Association.

Seeking spaces

The way the council wrote the University Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, parking looks to be central to its success, Sullivan said.

The initiative requires all landlords between Elm and Reade streets who wish to lease a four-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot rental home to a fourth unrelated person must provide at least three off-street parking spaces for their tenants.

Greenville Zoning Administrator Mike Dail said on Thursday that in the two months since the initiative passed, only one landlord — Allison Faulkner — has complied with the initiative’s other requirements, which includes a crime-free rental addendum. Faulker was approved for a permit at a home at 117 N. Harding St., records show.

“Many places do not have space for parking,” fellow committee member Joanne Kollar, the secretary and communications chairwoman of TRUNA, said. “We need to address parking first, before allowing a fourth person into a home.”

Chris Woelkers, the vice chairman of the Pitt-Greenville Convention and Visitors Authority, agreed that it was important to settle on a policy early and not “change the game” late in the process for potential applicants.

Among the charges of the study group by the council is to draft a parking permit plan for all licensed residents and employees in the initiative’s defined district, with a select number of permits available for purchase for East Carolina University students, staff and faculty.

Funds generated from the program are expected to be dedicated to increased code enforcement, trash collection, lighting and security in the neighborhood.

Lt. Richard Allsbrook, commander of Greenville Code Enforcement Division, said his staff is short one parking officer until late January.

Program in place

Stacey Pigford, assistant traffic engineer for the city of Greenville, said the city already has a controlled residential parking program in place.

Pigford said the program is a petition process. On a block-by-block basis, if 51 percent of residents agree, the city can issue three $5 permits per household to assure a resident has a spot to park.

Only about half of the neighborhood is taking advantage of the plan, a zoning map showed.

Greenville Community Development Director Merrill Flood said that after the board’s walkthrough, staff will provide information on Greenville’s existing parking ordinances and the revenue the city generates from parking tickets and permits.

Improved surface

Flood gave a brief overview of additional parking standards. One notable change: parking must be on an improved surface — asphalt, concrete, gravel — and no more than 30 percent of a front yard can be covered. Unlimited, stacked parking is allowed in backyards.

Sullivan, a 45-year resident of the university neighborhood, said he wants to know how the city enforces and permits all parking in the neighborhood, including both marked and unmarked spaces on the street, in driveways, yards and apartment lots.

The group agreed to meet the second Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. at City Hall.

At its next meeting, the board plans to decide whether to name a chairperson to lead the group or have Flood act as facilitator. Early discussions showed the group preferred a facilitator, a request city attorney Dave Holec said was “unusual,” but not illegal.

“I think of this as a working group and I do not want to break down the leadership,” Woelkers said. “I would like to keep us as equals.”

Contact Wesley Brown at 252-329-9579 or wbrown@reflector.com. Follow him on Twitter @CityWatchdog.

via The Daily Reflector.

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Dec 202012
 

 

Members of the ECU basketball team visit with Jourian Moore, 12, at Vidant Medical Center on Wednesday morning. (Rhett Butler)
Members of the ECU basketball team visit with Jourian Moore, 12, at Vidant Medical Center on Wednesday morning. (Rhett Butler)

By Tony Castleberry

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Of all the people on a college campus who can lose perspective, athletes on the school’s sports teams rank pretty high on the list.

Many of them have their education paid for through scholarships. If they are members of the more popular football and basketball teams, they can attain a certain level of fame, acquiring exalted status among their peers.

In case any East Carolina men’s basketball players were starting to get settled on their high horses, Wednesday’s visit to the children’s hospital at Vidant Medical Center almost assuredly humbled them. For the third time during Pirate coach Jeff Lebo’s tenure, ECU’s players spent time with some young patients who, instead of getting ready for Christmas break, are, in some cases, fighting a daily life-and-death battle.

“You see something like this, it (makes) you realize how blessed you are,” Shamarr Bowden, a senior guard from Greensboro, said. “I realized that no matter what you’re going through, it could always be worse.

“It kind of puts you in someone else’s shoes,” Bowden said. “It shows you some things that you may have that they may not have and it makes you appreciative of them. … You think, ‘Man, I’m blessed to be alive and to be healthy and to be walking.’”

All 16 members of East Carolina’s team as well as Lebo, assistant coach Tim Craft and director of basketball operations Kyle Robinson were on hand.

They split up into three different groups — each group visiting children’s rooms — giving them signed team posters and even getting into the holiday spirit by singing a Christmas carol.

Bowden said he has family members who are dealing with medical issues and that Wednesday’s visit further hammered home the point that there is much more to life than basketball.

“I feel like all the years I’ve been playing, not to take away from basketball, but I feel like I’ve shifted my focus too much on basketball,” Bowden said. “Coming here, and in a couple of situations I’ve been going through recently, I’ve learned over the course of time that family, health, being alive … There’s no comparison between that and basketball.”

Lebo said taking time to help brighten a young person’s day is even more important now in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 elementary school students dead.

While acknowledging the effect his team can have on children’s lives, the third-year Pirate skipper encouraged others to reach out as well.

“I think it’s important for everybody to do it,” Lebo said. “Our guys are really fortunate in a lot of ways. They’re healthy and they’re strong and they get a chance to play a game that they love.

“To get a chance to see some kids who are going through some tough times is good for them, to put things in perspective.”

Contact Tony Castleberry at tcastleberry@reflector.com, 252-329-9591 or follow @tcastleberrygdr on Twitter.

via The Daily Reflector.

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Dec 192012
 

 

 

Takaaki Iwabu – tiwabu@newsobserver.com The Hunt Library will be a signature building at N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus. It is scheduled to open Jan. 2.

Published Tue, Dec 18, 2012 10:18 PM

By Jay Price – jprice@newsobserver.com

RALEIGH — N.C. State University’s new library is such a leap forward that it took an information technology whiz to help lead a media preview Tuesday.

The James B. Hunt Jr. Library, a startling digital re-boot of what it means to be a university library and the new heart of NCSU’s fast-growing Centennial Campus, opens Jan. 2.

The public is welcome, and among the early visitors are expected to be architects eager to see the work of the cutting-edge Oslo firm Snohetta and library professionals from around the country curious – and perhaps apprehensive – about where their vocation is heading.

“For the first time in my career, I just fielded a call from Architectural Digest,” David Hiscoe, director of communications for NCSU libraries, said during the tour. “Some people are already calling it the face of N.C. State University in this century.”

It may well be the most advanced library in the world, and is one of the most unusual buildings in the nation by any measure.

And it’s such a thorough rethinking of the functions performed by libraries that at one point in the tour Hiscoe felt compelled reassure visitors that they would actually get to see books.

Not many, though. The vast majority, about 1.5 million volumes, are packed into dense storage that is accessible only by the robots that retrieve them. The system takes up about one-ninth the volume the books would require if stored on traditional shelves.

Since most people now consume and create information on video screens, screens are the real stars inside Hunt, hundreds of millions of pixels’ worth of them.

Seemingly every wall has large screens or smaller ones, or large ones built of small ones. Some are embedded in table surfaces. Nearly all respond to touch, and many offer startlingly high definition and ranges of color far beyond normal computers.

High tech spaces

There still are large, light-filled spaces for reading; one glass wall is more than 300 feet long and 50 feet high, and some of the best space offers views of Lake Raleigh and the woodsy part of the campus surrounding it.

But there are a host of technology-enhanced spaces for large-scale visualization research, videoconferencing and multimedia production.

One room is dedicated to high-end gaming, which is becoming vital not just for entertainment but for a host of more serious applications.

There is a reconfigurable Creativity Studio with sliding and rotating walls, and a Teaching and Visualization Lab set up to easily allow creation of, for example, an immersive environment such as a virtual bridge of a warship.

A key feature is the nearly 100 rooms that students can reserve to work together on projects, with screens to display work from their laptops and OK-to-write-on walls that can be treated as giant whiteboards.

NCSU students are taught to work collaboratively, and are accustomed to it, but they’ve had few suitable places for that in campus libraries until now, Hiscoe said

The library is so digital-centric that it has a supercomputer deep in its bowels to handle all the functions. It also will take advantage of the digital cloud, allowing students and faculty to work on their projects wherever they are, be it the library, their offices, dorm rooms or labs, said Maurice York, the head of IT for NCSU libraries.

During construction, a representative of one of the technology companies that worked with the university on the library once said that it probably shouldn’t even be called a library, York said.

Hard to explain

But after getting a look around, he changed his mind and said it actually was transforming libraries into what they needed to be.

“It’s really difficult for people to understand until they actually come and see it,” York said.

The library was meant to create a kind of heart on the public-private campus, which has been successful at attracting companies interested in working at and with NCSU but was slower to get places aimed mainly at students.

That’s changing quickly, with the library and new engineering school buildings in place, and a massive dorm complex under construction to help form a more typical campus quadrangle.

Price: 919-829-4526
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/12/18/2553438/ncsus-hyper-modern-new-james-b.html#storylink=cpy

 

via NCSU’s hyper-modern James B. Hunt Jr. Library poised to open – Education – NewsObserver.com.

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Dec 182012
 

The Daily Advance, Elizabeth City

Published Dec. 15, 2012

Our View: UNC-CH needs to fix flaws in ECSU pharmacy school

The two-year-old pharmacy school at Elizabeth City State University has a lot going for it, but is falling short of meeting its goals.

That’s according to a 13-page report by a seven-member fact-finding group that included two members of the UNC Board of Governors and representatives from St. Louis College of Pharmacy, John Hopkins Hospital, East Carolina University, the University of Maryland and St. John’s University.

In short, the panel concluded that the 52,000-square-foot building at the western end of ECSU’s campus is being under-utilized, that enrollment of pharmacy students is below expectations and that resources that could improve the school are not being tapped.

The panel recommends the pharmacy program at UNC-Chapel Hill take control of ECSU’s operations, as it has done at UNC-Asheville. The report cites the Asheville pharmacy program, which opened in the fall of 2011, as a model of how a satellite of the UNC program should operate.

“The (ECSU) program’s business model is flawed,” the study concluded. “Unlike the UNC-Asheville model, ECSU receives general operating funding, including faculty salaries, and UNC-Chapel Hill collects the tuition, manages financial aid and coordinates recruitment. It’s not clear which campus is responsible for advocating for additional resources for the partnership and how needed resources, if available, would be divided.”

Located at UNC-CH, the highly touted UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, founded in 1897, was ranked second among pharmacy schools in the country this year by U.S. News and World Report. The school educates some 550 professional students and 100 graduate students, post-docs, residents and fellows each year.

ECSU’s program started in 2004 with 14 students. In 2005, the school teamed up with UNC-CH to launch the UNC/ECSU doctor of pharmacy partnership program, with the twin goals of increasing the number of pharmacists in under-served northeastern North Carolina, and boosting the number of black students earning doctorates in pharmacy at UNC-CH.

In the fall  of 2010, a $25 million pharmacy building on the ECSU campus opened, complete with classrooms, science labs, a library, research and computer labs, meeting rooms. Despite the grand building, ECSU had only seven students enroll in the pharmacy program a year ago. The number grew to 12 this year, but it’s nowhere close to the 20 a year ECSU had first hoped it would attract.

That’s not to take anything away from the success of those taking part in the program.

ECSU Chancellor Willie Gilchrist said the bachelor’s degree program in pharmaceutical sciences has grown from 26 students in 2009 to 103 this year, and that the passing rate for students earning a doctorate in pharmacy is 100 percent.

The report noted, however, that one of the objectives — putting more pharmacists in northeastern North Carolina — is not being met. Of the 32 students who graduated from the program between 2009 and 2011, just six began practice in the 21-county region. Fourteen began practice in other parts of the state and nine left the state.

Meanwhile, the need for pharmacists in eastern North Carolina is still high, the report said. One indicator is the area’s high premature mortality rate, which measures the number of people who die before age 75.

“If the 29 counties in eastern North Carolina were a state by itself, it would rank 48th (premature mortality rate) in the nation after Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama,” the report said.

The original agreement between UNC and ECSU is flawed, in part, because the sharing of faculty between the two campuses has not developed in the eight years of the program — “in fact, it may have worsened,” the report said.

“Should the partnership continue,” the report said, “the panel would strongly support a different model, where all programmatic resources be managed under the auspices of UNC Chapel Hill and the Eshelman School of Pharmacy as is the case for the UNC-Asheville satellite program.”

The report noted that the economic downturn was responsible in part for fewer pharmacies opening. The report also said the increase in patients receiving their medications through the mails also had had an effect on the growth of pharmacies. Even so, the need for pharmacists, particularly in rural areas, will continue, the report said.

That means the ECSU program needs to continue — only in a way that is better run and makes better use of its facilities.

To his credit, Chancellor Gilchrist recognizes this and is open to better utilization of the pharmacy building. One option being discussed is a partnership with the Greenville-based Eastern Area Education Center. The pharmacy building could serve as a satellite site for the EAEC.

Abdul Rasheed, chairman of the ECSU Board of Trustees, also acknowledged ECSU should do more to partner with private industry — as UNC-Asheville has done — to produce pharmacists who will practice locally.

The UNC Board of Governors is expected to make a decision on the panel’s report in February. Here’s hoping the UNC governors will continue to see the value of having a pharmacy program — albeit one better managed — based at ECSU.

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Dec 182012
 

Posted: 12/17/2012 1:53 pm EST | Updated: 12/17/2012 2:24 pm EST

A group of former Newtown Public Schools students, calling themselves Santas for Sandy Hook, returned home this weekend to raise money for the families of those killed in Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The group set up tables outside local businesses and restaurants, and students used the hashtag #santasforsandyhook to spread the word on Twitter and other social media outlets. According to dispatches on Twitter, the group of about 20 college students have raised $10,000 already.

The Republican reports:

Sarah Feinstein, 21, a member of the group and a student at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., said she made the long drive home on Saturday. “It was brutal,” she said. Her mother, Laura Feinstein, a special education and reading teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was at the school on Friday and survived the attack, but six of her colleagues and some of her pupils were not so lucky. “She lost three of her students,” Feinstein said of her mother. “She’s just traumatized by it all.”

Students told the Newtown Patch one table collected $1,000 within just four hours.

The money will go to an account established at Newtown Savings Bank. The money will then be distributed to local families, Mark Scheunemann, 21, told the Republican.

Cole Depuy, a member of Santas for Sandy Hook and a senior at the University of Vermont, told the Philadelphia Inquirer he attended kindergarten at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 children were killed by 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

“It’s absolutely unbearable,” Depuy said. “I’ve cried a million times. It’s something else to turn on the radio and hear your town’s tragedy.”

Several memorial funds have been set up, including the Newtown Memorial Fund, which will help students in town pay for college, as well as provide financial support to families for funeral services college, ABC News reports.

“I just want them to know that we care and we’re here, and we’ll do anything that we can (to) help,” Zoe Walter, one of the students involved told NBC News, as she broke down in tears. “I just want them to know that we’re thinking about them.”

via Santas For Sandy Hook: Newtown High School Alumni Return From College To Help Hometown.

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