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Thurston High School Honors Victims And Survivors With Anniversary Remembrance

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Brian Bull
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KLCC

Several survivors of the 1998 Thurston High School Shooting gathered with current students today at the Memorial site just off campus.

Nichole Burcal was shot in the leg, after one of Kip Kinkel’s bullets ricocheted inside the cafeteria twenty years ago. She and her family laid a bouquet of flowers at the marker for Mikael Nickolauson and Ben Walker.

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Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
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KLCC
A marker honors the memory of two Thurston High Students killed on May 21, 1998: Mikael Nickolauson and Ben Walker.

Looking at the crowd of just over a hundred people, Burcal says she’s pleased with the support she’s received since the incident.

“Any time the community can come together, it’s kind of helps the healing process," Burcal tells KLCC.

"We all kind of help heal each other, and we’re there to talk to each other when we need to, and hug each other when we need a hug, and I have a great family, support system.”

Thurston High junior Rio Samaniego and Springfield Schools Superintendent Sue Rieke-Smith gave short speeches, and there was a moment of silence.  A red and white sheet of paper was laid out, so students and Thurston alum alike could sign it and leave messages for each other.

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Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
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KLCC
Thurston remembrance attendees pause for a moment of silence.

On May 21st, 1998, freshman Kip Kinkel fired upon his classmates at Thurston High, after killing his parents the night before. Two students died, and two dozen more were wounded. Kinkel’s serving 112 years at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem.

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Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
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KLCC
Current students, staff, and alumni gathered around the Thurston Memorial this afternoon, to honor the memories of those killed or wounded by freshman Kip Kinkel on May 21, 1998.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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