EMPORIA (KSNT) – On Friday morning in Emporia two Texas teachers that lost their lives when a gunman stormed into their school and shot them were remembered when their names were revealed on tablets at the National Memorial to Fallen Educators.
The rededication of the memorial honored fourth-grade teachers Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, who died on May 24 in their classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. In total 16 new names, were added to the memorial.
The rededication ceremony took place on Friday, June 17, at 10 a.m. Tony Salvatore, a former administrator at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, spoke to those who gathered for the event. He has attended the rededication every year.
The memorial is located at 18th Ave. and Merchant Street, in Emporia.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 2012, was the impetus for the memorial to honor six teachers who died at Sandy Hook and an Alabama teacher killed in 2013. The Emporia memorial was dedicated the following year with 113 names.
In 2018, legislation was signed into law to designate the memorial the National Memorial to Fallen Educators. No other memorial honors teachers and school personnel nationally.
One of the first names on the new tablet was Dr. Ethan Schmidt, who died at Delta State University in Mississippi in 2015. Dr. Schmidt is an alumnus of Emporia State University.
In October 2015, the Hall of Fame trustees decided to expand the memorial with a tablet dedicated to educators who fall in the line of duty at the higher education (postsecondary) level.
A Kansas principal, James McGee is remembered on a tablet at the memorial. In 1985, McGee was shot and killed at Goddard Junior High School in Goddard, Kansas, when a 14-year-old student brought an M-1A rifle to school and killed him and wounded two other teachers and a student.