Plans for new Heath High School shooting memorial announced

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) – Original Post

The Heath High School Memorial Committee will announce the details about a new memorial to honor those who died in the 1997 school shooting.

On December 1, 1997, Michael Carneal opened fire inside Heath High School in Paducah as a group of students were ending their prayer circle. Three people, Nicole Hadley, Jessica James, and Kacye Steiger, were killed. Five others were hurt.

A memorial garden was set up on the campus of the high school which now serves as Heath Middle School.

Because the garden is on school property, members of the public can only visit the memorial at certain times. Members said it is also rundown. The fountain does not work and is in need of significant repairs.

The new memorial will be similar to the current one. It will be a circle to represent the prayer circle. A stone from the current memorial will be moved to the new one. A cross will be formed using the stones from the original memorial that contain the names of the five victims who survived. There will also be yellow rose bushes inside the circle. Yellow roses were used as a symbol for the victims after the shooting, and members of the committee wanted to honor that within the memorial. There will also be three lights that are aimed at the middle school to represent the three girls who died who are still shining their light.

Committee members started fundraising in an effort to create and build a new memorial that the entire Paducah community can enjoy. It will be moved to a field across the street from the middle school.

The group hopes to raise $80,000 to cover the cost for the new memorial. Monetary donations, which are tax deductible, can be mailed to:

  • Community Foundation of West Kentucky
    P.O. Box 7
    Paducah, KY 42002

They are also looking for people who could donate services: general contractor, dirt work, electrical work, landscaping, and masonry work. They will also accept concrete, bricks, lights, benches, and landscaping. If you are interested in donating any services or material, you can contact Christina Ellegood at

Members of the committee aim to have the new memorial ready by Dec. 1, 2017 for the 20 year anniversary of the deadly shooting. They are planning to hold a service at the site to remember those who lost their lives and honor those whose lives were forever changed.

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