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UMW freshman back at school after a month in her grief-filled hometown of Newtown, Conn.

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Date published: 1/15/2013


As winter break was drawing to a close and Eiseman's friends were heading back to their respective colleges, she reached out to Dave Pierandri, the UMW assistant dean of admissions who had recruited her. Eiseman wanted to honor the people who were killed, and she encourage UMW students to reflect.

She had heard of symbolic gestures being taken on other campuses and was hoping her college would do something, as well.

Pierandri, who grew up in neighboring Ridgefield, Conn., liked the idea and approached other administrators, including President Rick Hurley.

With students resuming classes on the one-month anniversary of the Newtown tragedy Monday, the timing seemed perfect.

The college raised a Connecticut flag over Lee Hall and Hurley sent a message to students and staff encouraging them to pause and reflect this week.

UMW freshman Maureen Iredell of Alexandria did just that Monday morning, stopping to photograph the flag with her iPhone.

"It's something so bad that I think everyone should take time to remember it," she said.

For Eiseman, the idea goes beyond the tragedy.

She lost her mother to cancer in July 2011, but knew it was coming and had a chance to say good-bye.

The families of the children and educators killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary lost them without warning.

Eiseman also has beautiful memories of her childhood and opportunities still before her that those children will never have.

"Everybody," she said, "needs to remember how lucky they are and what they have in life."

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972
Email: pgould@freelancestar.com

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The state flag of Connecticut is flying in front of Lee Hall on the grounds of the University of Mary Washington this week.

The flag is flying to encourage students, staff and faculty to pause to honor those killed on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut and to reflect.

The Connecticut flag flies alongside the American flag. Normally, the eight flag poles on Lee Hall are used to recognize the foreign countries of students attending the school, said Dave Pierandri, assistant dean of admissions.

More than 30 students from Connecticut are currently enrolled at UMW, Pierandri said.