One Year Since Sandy Hook Shooting: Sage Remembers One of its Own

December 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

TROY, NY - The Sage Colleges observed a moment of silence in honor of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung and the other victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Friday, December 13 at 3 p.m. in Buchman Pavilion on the Russell Sage campus. Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School and a doctoral candidate in Sage’s Educational Leadership program when she lost her life in the Newtown, CT shooting on December 14, 2012.

Susan C. Scrimshaw, president of The Sage Colleges, and Ann Myers, director of the Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Center, led a brief memorial which included a moment of silence and reading of the names of those lost in the Sandy Hook shooting. Twenty-seven candles remained lit in honor of the victims from 2 to 3:30 p.m. providing an opportunity for personal reflection for members of the campus community.

Dawn 1 Yr Memorial 

President Scrimshaw's Spoken Comments at the Memorial:

"One year ago tomorrow, we were stunned to learn of the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.  A member of our Sage family, school principle Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, was one of the first to die, defending her school and her students.  Our response to the violence was to look at how to prevent the distress, illness and anger that drives deeply troubled people to such unimaginable actions.  In consultation with Dawn’s family, we created the Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Center for Mental Health and School Safety at the Esteves School of Education at Sage.  The Center is a focus for working with current and future teachers and educational leaders on promoting self esteem and respect for others among our youth, and helping educators to detect early signs of alienation and distress in young people and ensure they get the help and support they need.

Words by the poet Adrianne Rich: 

"My heart is moved by all I cannot save: so much has been destroyed.
I have to cast my lot with those who,
age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world."

"At Sage, we took our deep distress at the tragedy of the Sandy Hook killings and turned our anger and grief to focus on ways that we can change the world. Dawn’s family has asked all of us to do something positive in remembrance.  When you leave here, take with you the thought of reaching out to someone or to a community.  It can be as simple as a smile, as committed as a donation to a non profit which helps others, or as devoted as volunteering to work with individuals or a community.  In this season when many of the world’s cultures and religions celebrate moving from darkness into light at the Winter Solstice, think about what Adalai Stevenson said of Eleanor Roosevelt:  “She would rather light one candle than curse the darkness, and her glow warmed the world.”  In honor of Dawn, her fellow teachers, and her students, warm the world."

The event was hosted by the Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Center for the Promotion of Mental Health and School Safety, founded by Sage in Dawn’s honor to explore, develop and share solutions that promote the mental health of each child and safe learning environments for all children.

“This is truly a somber occasion as we remember Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, one of our Sage family members, and the other victims who were taken from us much too soon as a result of the tragic events that unfolded that dark day,” reflected President Scrimshaw. “The legacy that Dawn left through her love of education, and the countless children whose lives she changed on a daily basis, will continue to live on through them and through the work of the Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Center for the Promotion of Mental Health and School Safety here at Sage.”

“The Hochsprung Center’s mission is a tribute to Dawn and can only be accomplished by the participation of the entire community, adults and children alike,” explained Ann Myers. “The center will continue to explore the relationship between mental health and school safety, and work together with all members of our community to develop and share solutions to the complex issues that contribute to creating school culture. It is our hope that through the work of the Hochsprung Center, we can prevent tragedies like the Sandy Hook shooting from occurring in the future.”

The Hochsprung Center was conceived in the wake of the tragedy and formally established in February of 2013. Ann Myers, former district superintendent of Questar III BOCES, was named as founding director of the center in July. The center’s inaugural event was held in October and included a keynote discussion led by Dr. Kyle Blanchfield, president and CEO of the Northern New York Centers for Conflict Resolution, which focused on leadership, violence and school climate. The center is currently conducting research in alignment with its mission and is planning a day-long summit for May 2014.

For more information about the Hochsprung Center, contact the center at (518) 244-2288 or

Media contact:
Deanna Cohen
Director of External Relations
Office of Communications & PR
The Sage Colleges

(518) 244-4593 (o)
(518) 598-4927 (c)