SANTA FE, Texas — It has been nearly three years since a school shooting left 10 people dead and rocked the Santa Fe community.
To honor the victims, a group of current and former students designed a memorial called "The Unfillable Chair" to represent the absence of those students and teachers.
“I personally hope it can be a pillar of comfort," said Morgan Wilson, class of 2021.
It started as sketches from students.
“I think the whole entire design process, it really came together," said Chailyn Gillespie, also the class of 2021.
Students from all four classes who lived through the Santa Fe High School shooting in 2018 participated in the design.
“I want it to definitely help people and remind people that we lost 10 amazing people," Wilson said.
The Unfillable Chair will stand 8 feet tall. The height is a reminder that will never be filled. It will also be illuminated with crossed arrows representing the school’s mascot, the Indians. Those arrows are in the shape of an X, which is the Roman numeral for 10. It symbolizes the two teachers and eight students who died.
“He was so sweet, he was just happy all the time," said Gail McLeod, who lost her son Kyle in the shooting.
“It meant to me that I’m never going to be able to sit anywhere with my son again. I’m never going to have him sit down with me and tell me all the important details of his life," she said.
Three years later, one of the student designers now in college said she’s still healing.
“Once you feel that it’s coming back, the pictures on Facebook, you know prom. Prom was a really important part of me and Chris’s relationship," said Reagan Gaona, class of 2020.
She lost her boyfriend Chris Stone. They were at prom together the weekend before the shooting.
“I can’t wait to go to a spot where I get to talk to him and see something that’s made for him," Gaona said.
There are bigger plans for a permanent memorial on campus. The Santa Fe Ten Foundation is raising funds to complete a design by architectural students at the University of Houston.
In the meantime, The Unfillable Chair is an important first step for the community. For Kyle’s mom, it’s not just about remembering, it’s a call to action.
“Protect the schools, do more for the schools, do more for the kids, so this won’t happen again," she said.
The Unfillable Chair will be unveiled in a dedication ceremony on May 18, the third anniversary of the shooting. It was important to the students and families to get it done this year because the last class there at the time of the shooting is about to graduate.