The Emporia community gathered on the west side of the Emporia State University campus this afternoon to witness the ground breaking of the National Teachers Hall of Fame Memorial to Fallen Educators.
The memorial is a tribute to all educators who have lost their lives attempting to protect their students from harm.
Several dignitaries were on hand for the breaking of ground, including ESU President Michael Shonrock, Bill Maness, representing Sen. Jerry Moran, Mayor Rob Gilligan, and NTHF director Carol Strickland.
Also in attendance were the NTHF Class of 2013 inductees, Deborah Cornelison, Rebecca Gault, Darryl Johnson, Martha McLeod and Beth Vernon.
The memorial will sit on the east side of Merchant Street, north of a cedar tree near the one room school house on the Emporia State University campus. It will be built on a 40-foot by 40-foot concrete slab, illuminated at night, possibly visible from Interstate 35.
The memorial itself, manufactured from black granite, will be roughly 10-feet tall and 10-feet wide, featuring a gradually sloping, open book on which the names of fallen educators will be engraved.
Wallace said extra room will be left on the face of the memorial in case names are added in the future: unfortunate, but necessary.
Furthermore, the plans are to build benches at the memorial as a place to sit for visitors.
There is still fundraising to do, said Carol Strickland, director of the NTHF, but the downpayment on the project has been met, thanks to the Pearson Foundation and the Security Benefit Corporation, which made donations of $25,000 and $15,000, respectively, to the Hall of Fame Memorial Fund.
The dedication ceremony for the memorial will be held in August.
By then, names, locations and dates will be inscribed in commemoration of the educators who have lost their lives protecting children like those at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012 and Chuck Poland.
Also to be inscribed are Dave Sanders, who was killed during the Columbine, Co., massacre, teacher Robert Bailey, who was killed in Illinois in 1882 and Goddard principal Jim McGee, killed in 1985.
See Friday's Gazette for more.