DANVILLE- Today marks three years since St. Johnsbury Academy teacher Melissa Jenkins was murdered. With the tragedy fresh in their minds, those who remember Jenkins are honoring her today by wearing pink; her favorite color.
Justice has been served for the 33-year-old science teacher. Patricia and Allen Prue, the couple accused of Jenkin's murder, have both been sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, first degree murder, and conspiracy charges.
Students and community members alike continue to remember Jenkins and what she stood for. "I don't remember Melissa not having a smile on her face. She was always very kind and happy," said Tammi Cady, Director of Development at St. Johnsbury Academy, and former co-worker and friend of Jenkins.
St. Johnsbury Academy graduate Shane LaCroix agrees, remembering her kindness towards everyone and the legacy she left behind. "Before she passed away, Ms. Jenkins was my advisor and I had a decent connection with her, but it was more after she was taken from us that I saw that she was so influential to me, how she instilled characteristics in me like kindness, willingness to work hard, and perseverance."
The Danville School community is also wearing pink in remembrance, and raising money towards the Melissa Jenkins Scholarship Fund. The fund goes out to a graduating senior who plans on furthering his or her education, and who best exemplifies what Jenkins stood for. The first year, the scholarship was for $1,000, but with increasing donations, it has been raised to $1,500.
The total amount of donations over the three years has totaled about $50,000. "It means a lot," said Danville Physical Education and Health teacher Guy Pearce. "I had Melissa as a student, and I coached her in soccer, so it's nice to have students carry on what she did and wearing pink just shows how much she's meant to the community."
Jenkin's legacy continued today as many parents, teachers, and students came out to Danville School to donate, helping to raise over $1,000.
"It's important to have Melissa's life recognized and carry on what she represented; community, friendship, and family, and we try to bring that out, and talk about it at the end of school to make those important ideals in other kids lives," Pearce told us.
Three years after the tragic death of Jenkins, those who knew her continue to remember her mantra of "love those most who need it most", allowing for the community to understand what it means when "love wins".