Leslie Sherman

Leslie Sherman

Hometown: Springfield, Va.

Age: 20

Class: Sophomore

Major: History, International Studies

Location: Norris Hall

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Profile: Leslie Sherman, 20, was the unofficial team cheerleader, whatever the team.

As a student at West Springfield High School, she ran on the cross-country and track teams, played basketball and was president of the history honor society. At Virginia Tech, she declared majors in history and international studies and planned to study in Russia this summer after finishing her sophomore year. She ran regularly, though she did not join the college cross-country team, and was training for a marathon in the fall.

"She put everything she had into everything she did," said Emily Grossman, a freshman at Florida State University who became friends with Sherman through the West Springfield cross-country team.

Grossman said that she was not a talented long-distance runner but that Sherman motivated her to keep going when she was tired. Sherman always led the applause when someone crossed the finish line and provided an encouraging word when a teammate was struggling.

"She always kept telling me: 'You can do it. It's just another mile or two or six,' " Grossman said with a laugh. "She cheered us all on."

Sherman, who was killed in French class, developed a passion for the language in high school as a student and a member of the French Club. She talked about studying in both Russia and France, friends said.

"Leslie was so full of energy, always smiled, worked hard, and made others smile," high school classmate Samantha Esau said on a Facebook group page.

To celebrate Sherman's life, Grossman and others are planning a summer memorial run in Springfield -- Sherman's home town -- to raise scholarship money for West Springfield High. After hearing of Sherman's death, Grossman said, she sent invitations to about 75 people via Facebook. By the next day, 350 people had joined the group.

-- Megan Greenwell, The Washington Post

© 2007 The Washington Post Company