Students at Tyler Junior College seem to wear concerned and sorrowful expressions following a 19-year-old student’s death, in her home Sept. 15 around 7 p.m. A door at Anderson’s home was found kicked in and left open where the suspect entered. She sustained a gunshot wound to the head and was discovered by her own brother after returning home from a night jog.
A staff member who is a financial aid technician, who did not want to give her name, spoke of how senseless this crime was and how she feels deeply for the family.
“It is a tragedy to lose such a young person, but in such times we must try and enjoy the days that are given. Enjoy the life our loved ones lived,” she said.
Aellise Czupryna, sophomore, sits patiently at an old oak table in the right side of her classroom in the journalism lab on the second floor of Potter Hall. She speaks adamantly but softly, expressing the uncertainty for her safety and the delicacy of everyday life.
“No one ever really knows if it can happen to them. No one ever really knows what danger lurks or draws near. When I heard the news, I was very unnerved and also extremely sorry for her and her family,” Czupryna said. “It is a sad time for everyone, but an even dangerous time to live in.”
In the upstairs hallway of Potter Hall, Teri Klauser, a sophomore, awaits her next class seated in front of a doorway.
Bouncing her leg up and down in a steady motion, Klauser explained how Anderson died and how important safety is among young people her age.
“The crowd was cheering on the Apaches. The joy of homecoming was without a doubt in the atmosphere. But shortly before, the cheering was exchanged with absolute silence. Students were told to pause for a brief moment, to give tribute to a student’s memory,” Klauser said.
Klauser remembers late one night, while talking to a friend, her world seemed to collapse after discovering someone had entered Anderson’s home unwelcomed, leading to her death.
“The feeling of sadness was unimaginable and the very thought that something so terrible could happen so close to home is what keeps everyone on edge,” Klauser said.
Not only will Amanda’s presence be missed in her community by her friends and family, but also on campus by professors and faculty who were suddenly brought to such heartbreak after hearing the tragic news.
Standing against the reddish-brown brick in the courtyard of Jenkins Hall Government and History professor Jan McCauley said, “Quite often, young people expect they have all the time in the world, or a fictional sense of invincibility, in some cases not recognizing that they are in dangerous situations. But what’s different about Amanda is that she was in the safety of her own home and with the people who she loved and who loved her.”
McCauley recalls the event as devastating. She explained that it’s always sad to lose a life, but even much so, when the individual is young and just starting out, exploring, learning and planning a promising future.
Pausing for a moment, she continued saying that a home is a place where someone should feel safe. The invasion is more heartbreaking because it took place surrounded by friends, neighbors and family in the community, explained McCauley.
McCauley is a strong believer in faith. She believes that there’s no safety except under the protective wing of her lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Traveling tightly among a group on a narrow walkway, Spencer McGregor, a sophomore, stopped and shared his feelings on the issues of safety and the young life that was tragically lost.
“Anything can happen at any point. So why just pretend that it can never happen to you, when very obviously it can?” McGregor said.
He soon after spoke softly and slowly to the parents.
“Keep your head up and keep smiling. Your life has to continue. It must go on. It doesn’t end here,” he said.
“You never know what day is your last, but what’s most important is how you live leading up to that day. We all must live life without worry and doubt, living every day to the fullest and making each count for something,” McGregor said. “There’s nothing we can do in sad times like these. There’s always an incident that reminds everyone of how fragile life really is, but through it all we must try to look ahead not upon the bad times, but on living life like there’s no tomorrow.”
“Learning from this experience, it’s definitely not promised,” McGregor said.