Remember Their Names

Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle. Photo courtesy of NBC News.
Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle. Photo courtesy of NBC News.

On the morning of Nov. 13, 2023, four University of Idaho students had their futures violently stolen from them. Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves were all murdered in their home by one man.
The local case itself is moving forwards– the perpetrator was identified shortly after the students were discovered via DNA evidence. The name of this cold-blooded, ruthless killer has been plastered across T.V. screens and newspapers around the United States and even the world.
However, people would be hard-presed to find others who are capable of naming the victims. While the case may be moving forward, the lives of the people who know and love Ethan, Maddie, Xana, and Kaylee will be held at a halt forever more. Instead of these students being memorialized–their impacts, futures, accomplishments and goals being spread to the world– the name of the man who robbed them of their potential has stolen the focus.
His heinous acts have superseded the incredible human beings that these people were before and during the time he made the decision to end their lives–following suit of the hundreds of killers before him. He is not unique; he is one of many.
His victims, however, were and are unique, precious individuals who should be remembered as such. Instead of remembering the man who stole them from the world, remembrance should focus on them— and the impacts they can still make, even in death.
Gene Taft, along with Bob and Gail urso, have created scholarships in the names of Maddie, Ethan, Xana and Kaylee, and the University of Idaho has begun working on a “healing garden,” where students can reflect upon and mourn their losses- a “special commemoration” will commend the lost students’ lives there. The families of Kaylee and Xana have begun endownment scholarships to fund students, and Ethan’s family has created a scholarship for members of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
The real potential of these students will never be known. So why remember the man who took that from the world? Instead, remember their names, their lives, their accomplishments– their deaths were nothing more than a blip in their lives. Remember the rest; remember them.

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