August 5, 2011
Charlottesville City Schools officials made the 330 mile trip north to Newark, NJ to pay their respects Friday morning to one of their own.
Dawn Reddick, a teacher at Clark Elementary, was killed by a bullet investigators say was intended for someone else. She was gunned down July 29 in a drive-by shooting and died from her injuries the next day.
One week after the senseless crime, colleagues attended a memorial service at Promise Land Baptist Church, where Reddick was baptized 29 years ago, in a show of support for a member of the teaching family lost too soon.
“One of the things we talk about a lot in Charlottesville is being a family,” said City Schools Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins. “When there's a tragedy in the family we rally around one another to offer support, and that's what we're here about.”
Dr. Atkins was among the speakers at Friday's celebration of life ceremony. She spoke of a young teacher already considered a leader to everyone in her life.
“Every person who's ever met Dawn is touched by her because of her big smile, her big heart and her willingness to give herself to others,” Dr. Atkins said.
Reddick's father, James, was overwhelmed by the show of support for his daughter.
"They told me my daughter meant so much to everyone in that school, not just to children, but faculty and everybody. It meant so much to me."
Friends say Reddick had the ability to bring the best out of everyone, a beautiful person who radiated love in a life tragically cut short. Not only was Reddick considered an inspiration to her third grade students, but also to her fellow teachers, who say they're lucky to have had her in their lives.
“She brought the best out of every one of her students. It was a joy to work with her and she was an inspiration to me as a colleague and as a friend,” said Hannah Garrity.
Reddick, a Golden Apple Award-winner, had traveled to Newark, where she spent her childhood, to drop off her nephew after he had spent the summer with family in Virginia. She was reportedly shot while shielding a 7-year-old child she didn't know from the flying bullets.
"Knowing her that is her nature, you know, to protect children because she was so concerned about all children. She never seen or she didn't even know this young girl, but that's her," her father told CBS19.
Dawn Reddick will be buried at County Line Baptist Church in Kents Store on Sunday.