Funeral celebrates life of Alicia Shanks

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(Host) Funeral services for Alicia Shanks were held yesterday.

Shanks was killed last Thursday in her classroom at Essex Elementary School.

Police have charged 27-year-old Christopher Williams with the shooting deaths of Shanks and Linda Lambesis of Essex.

About a thousand people attended yesterday’s service, including Vermont Bishop Salvatore Mutano and Governor Jim Douglas.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports:

(Policeman)”Are you here for the service? Go straight ahead, please.”

(Zind) In a testament to the number of lives nearly 35 years as a Vermont elementary school teacher can touch, the large Saint Michael’s College chapel was filled by those who came to remember Mary Alicia Shanks in a Catholic Mass.

In accordance with the family’s wishes, the media waited outside the chapel. Vicki Centarbar is a friend of Shanks’ sister. Afterward, she said the service was a moving tribute to Shanks.

(Centarbar) “Lovely. Very lovely. The music was hauntingly beautiful and everything about it was a celebration of life, it really was.

(Zind) Shanks has been described as the kind of teacher who students remember long into adulthood.

In 1996 she won a national contest for adapting a Native American tradition to her Essex classroom by awarding feathers to her students for unselfish acts that benefited the community. The idea caught on in every classroom in the school.

Shanks is survived by her husband of 34 years and their two children.

For VPR news, I’m Steve Zind in Colchester.

(Host) Funeral services for Linda Lambesis will be held this morning at 10AM at the First Congregational Church in Essex Junction.

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