SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Brexialee Torres-Ortiz’s locker at Blodgett Middle School has been covered by posters, flowers and stuffed animals and turned into a memorial by her classmates.
The 11-year-old was caught in the middle of city violence and killed in a shooting Monday.
The building’s teachers and staff members have the unbearable job of guiding their students through the grief.
Eight of those adults at the school found the strength to share their memories of Brexi.
“I think it’s been the two worst days ever in 14 years,” said Alyssa Cortina, one of Brexi’s teachers who joined a group conversation with NewsChannel 9. “But… these kids, these students, her peers, even the ones that didn’t know her… the compassion they have, support they have for each other is intense and wonderful.”
Kayla Gallagher, the school psychologist, said, “We’re helping students navigate and identify feelings for something and coping skills they shouldn’t have to develop at 11, 12, 13 years old.”
Cortina said: “I’m smiling, even through the sadness, because that’s what Brexi does. She was hilarious, not just respectful and dedicated and wanted the classroom to be fun.”
Emily Fanning said: “We won’t ever know her potential. But if we can take a positive out of this, maybe this was Brexi’s… Brexi’s going to change Syracuse.”