CHAMPAIGN, Ill (WCIA)– Nearly 12 years ago, 32 people lost their lives in a shooting at Virginia Tech.
One was a teenager who wanted to help people.
Every year since 2007, centennial high students take a day to serve the community in memory of Austin Cloyd.
Cloyd was a freshman at Virginia Tech when she was killed.
She went to Centennial for three years before transferring and graduating from a school in Virginia.
During her time in Champaign, she left a strong impression on the people who knew her.
In April 2007, police swarmed the Virginia Tech campus as they responded to reports of gunfire.
One of the 32 victims was 18-year old Austin Cloyd, a former Centennial high school student.
Now, a tradition almost 12 years strong, students from centennial are making sure her legacy isn’t forgotten.
“Being out here today and seeing Centennial students. Students who were just like us that they take the time to do this and organize this day of service after all these years I just feel like we’re doing just a little bit of good in the world and I know she wanted to do a lot of good in the world,” Rebecca Slowik says.
once a year champaign rotary and students with “centennial interact” organize Austin’s day of Service.
When her mother, Renee, comes for the day of service she says she enjoys seeing all the volunteers doing things that benefit the community, and she’s happy her daughter’s memory is getting so many involved in giving back.
“Then see how they may have an impact on one person because like Austin’s favorite saying that’s on the back of these shirts ‘No one can do everything but everyone can do something. And if everyone does something, together we can change the world,'” Renee Cloyd says.
Even people who never met Austin have joined in.
“It’s fun to work with other people even if it’s just for one day you’re all working together to make someone else’s life easier,” Bobbi Pruski says.
Rebecca Slowik was Austin’s friend and says what she remembers most about her is how much she wanted to change the world.
“I think she knew what she was going to do with her life. Maybe not specifically but she was going to help people and make a difference and make a change,” Slowik says.
Renee says she feels lucky that Austin changed her world.
“She was just a fantastic human being and I am very honored to be her mother,” Cloyd says.