NM elementary school honors Sandy Hook shooting victim

Posted at: 05/16/2013 9:57 PM
Updated at: 05/16/2013 10:22 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

One of the 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was honored today in Rio Rancho.

The six-year-old and her family lived in New Mexico before moving to Connecticut in 2012.

Her parents, Robbie and Alyssa Parker, are back in New Mexico for the first time since losing their daughter in December.

The Parkers say they are taking it one day at a time. But they wanted to be part of the ceremony at Maggie Cordova Elementary School in order to say thanks to everyone for their support.

Students at Maggie Cordova decorated the school in honor of the girl with an angelic face.

Emilie Parker was a “fancy girl” and gifted artist who loved daisies and roses.

Her former school is dedicating a whole garden in her memory.

Alyssa and Robbie Parker say their return is bittersweet. “It's pretty emotional to be back,” said Robbie Parker.

“It's bringing up a lot of feelings. It's hard to anticipate,” added Alyssa Parker. “It's hard because you know we drove in and I was just flooded with memories."

One of their favorite memories here is Emilie’s reaction to a hot air balloon ride shortly before the family moved to Connecticut.

"[Emilie] just panicked she did not want to do it, she was like, ‘I'm not doing it. I can't do it. I'm not doing it,’” said Alyssa laughing.

In a private ceremony, Emilie’s schoolmates sang songs. The area will fittingly become Emilie’s Garden.

"Flowers, art, creativity, the colors, it all speaks of Emilie," said Emilie’s teacher Lisa Dale.

The garden also includes a tree, something Robbie thinks Emilie would have wanted as he remembers her first day of school here.

"I asked her, well how was recess? She was like ‘ah, it was too sunny. I don't like being out in the sun. So I just found a shady spot and I just stayed in my shady spot,’" he said with a smile.

The school hopes to have the garden planted and blooming by next spring.