BAINBRIDGE- The echo of the Cyrene Institute bell could be heard throughout the Bainbridge State College main campus on Wednesday at noon as students, faculty, and staff gathered and paused to remember three students and their instructor who lost their lives in a tragic truck accident ten years ago.
On August 30, 2004, students, Michael Elton Raley of Colquitt, Jamie Carlton Holmes of Cairo, Deborah Kay Simms Martin of Cairo; and instructor Laura Palmer Jenson of Bainbridge, left the Bainbridge College campus that afternoon, not knowing it would be their last class.
At approximately 3:50 p.m., the Bainbridge College tractor-trailer used in the CDL program was struck by a train as it moved across the railroad tracks, located at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 84 and Bert Phillips Rd. in Climax.
On Wednesday, Dr. Richard Carvajal, BSC President, asked students, faculty and staff to pause while he rang the bell to honor the memory of the students and instructor.
“That day marked a tragic event in Bainbridge State College history,” said Carvajal. “We gathered to remember our students who were trying to better their lives with an education at our college, and our instructor who worked hard to prepare her students for success.”
Stanley Williams, the assistant professor for the commercial truck driving program, commented on the dedication Jenson had for her students and their success in the program.
He said, “Laura was a very dedicated instructor. She had such a passion for everything she did, and her passion was reflected in her teaching.”
Soon after the accident, the college placed individually engraved bricks in memory of these individuals at a gazebo on campus, but that structure was removed when the Student Wellness Center was built in 2010.
The bricks are now in storage and will be placed in a “History Walkway” on campus that will be used to commemorate special individuals and events. This walkway is part of the campus master plan, a multi-year improvement project.
Carvajal said, “These four individuals were valued members of our college family and since their passing; they have been missed by many and not forgotten.”
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