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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence
Kayce Steger, a 15-year-old sophomore, played clarinet in the school band, played on the softball team, and was a member of the Agape Club. She was an honor student, worked at Subway, and attended 12th Street Baptist Church. She was a member of Law Enforcement Explorers Post 111 and hoped to be a police officer. Her parents reported that Michael Carneal had asked her out on a date a little over a month before the shooting.
Nicole Hadley, a 14-year-old freshman, played in the school band and on the freshman basketball team. She was a member of the Heartland Baptist Worship Center and the Heartland Baptist Youth Group. Her family had moved to Paducah from Nebraska the year before the shooting. Nicole was a good friend of Carneal. They had “walked together” at middle school graduation, a custom of some significance in the community whereby graduates choose someone important to them to accompany them during graduation ceremonies. Nicole had been to the Carneal home and felt friendly enough toward Ann Carneal to confide her hopes that Michael would become more religious. Students at the school reported that Carneal probably had a crush on Nicole. Her parents reported that Michael Carneal called her almost every evening, supposedly to discuss science homework, but they believed he just wanted to talk to her. Although she was clearly annoyed with his constant calling, she always talked to him, believing that she could help him find God.
Five other students were injured, none of whom had relationships of any significance to Michael Carneal:
Shelley Schaberg, age 17, was described by the principal as the school’s best female athlete. Voted Miss Heath High School by the senior class, Shelley was homecoming queen. Though her injuries from the shooting prevented her from playing basketball, her college honored her basketball scholarship and she went on to play college soccer.
Melissa “Missy” Jenkins, age 15, was president of the Future Homemakers of America. She was paralyzed from the waist down in the shooting. She and her twin sister, Amanda, were featured in Christian Woman magazine several months after the shooting.
Kelly Hard, age 16, was a member of the softball team and the Future Homemakers of America. She transferred to the local Catholic school the year after the shooting.
Craig Keene, a 15-year-old freshman at the time of the shooting, was a member of the Agape Club, the band, and the basketball team.
Hollan Holm, a 14-year-old freshman at the time of the shooting, was a member of the Academic Team, the Spanish Club, and the Science Olympiad. In his valedictory speech at the class of 2001 graduation, he reminded his class that they had lost not one but two members on December 1, 1997,: Nicole Hadley and Michael Carneal.