Virginia Tech Shooting Victims Remembered

By Joe Holley and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, April 17, 2007; 4:50 PM

Accomplished, ambitious and fun-loving, the young men and women who were shot and killed on the campus of Virginia Tech were, in many ways, typical college students, each with plans, hopes and dreams for the promising lives that lay ahead. One played in the university marching band; another planned a career in the military; yet another was preparing for a career in international relations.

Mary Read was a "fun-loving 19-year old" who graduated from Fairfax's Annandale High School last spring, according to her paternal aunt, Karen Kuppinger of Rochester, N.Y. Read had lived in Fairfax County since 1991, her aunt said.

Read's father, Peter, and her step-mother, Cathy, are both retired military personnel who live in a tan-brick Colonial in an older subdivision off Wakefield Chapel Road. Read's mother, Yon Son, lives in New Jersey, Kuppinger said.

At Annandale High School, Read played lacrosse and clarinet in the schools' concert band. She also performed in the band's flag-waving color guard unit, her aunt said. She was an "excellent student," according to her aunt, who had not yet decided on a major at Virginia Tech.

"Here's a story about what a sweet, family-oriented girl she is," Kuppinger said. "The last time I saw her -- a year ago Thanksgiving here at my house -- she kept disappearing while she was here. I finally said, 'Mary, what are you up to? Are you reading a good book or something?' She was knitting a beautiful scarf -- a multi-colored, fluffy scarf like the girls wear -- for her grandmother for Christmas. My mother still wears it. She did very thoughtful things like that always and was very close to her mother and father and brothers."The victims included two friends, Erin Peterson and Reema Samaha, both 18, who graduated together last year from Westfield High School. They were shot in Norris Hall. Peterson died of her wounds this morning, CNN reported.

According to Mary Anne T. Fadul, a Herndon resident whose daughter was a classmate of both girls at Westfield High and Virginia Tech, Peterson played basketball for Westfield.

Peterson was quoted in a local newspaper and in blogs in October 2005 after a Republican candidate for Virginia state delegate made disparaging remarks about Africans while speaking to her advanced placement government class at Westfield High. "I'm African American, so I was a little shocked," said Peterson, then a senior planning to major in international relations in college.

Samaha was listed as a member of Virginia Tech's Contemporary Dance Ensemble. As a high school senior last year, she appeared in Westfield's production of the comedy, "Arsenic and Old Lace," playing the role of Aunt Martha.

Leslie Sherman, 20, was taking a French class yesterday morning in Norris 207, according to her friend Deepika Chadive, a Virginia Tech student.

Sherman and Chadive were teammates on the basketball team at West Springfield High School in Fairfax County. Sherman, class of 2005, was a terrific point guard and aspiring historian.

"She was always in her books," Chadive said. "She was so respectful when it came to my parents. My parents loved her."

Sherman had a part-time job at the West End Market on campus. Co-worker Andrew Clinger remembers her as "one of the nicest people I ever met."


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