Michael Landsberry Honored During McQueen Game
In the following days since Monday's shooting at Sparks Middle School, the community has honored Michael Landsberry, in different ways.
Friday, October 25th 2013, 12:09 am PDT
Friday, October 25th 2013, 4:00 am PDT
The healing continues since a shooting at Sparks Middle School on Monday. Two students were injured, and a popular teacher was killed trying to stop the shooter, who then took his own life.
In the following days, the community has honored the teacher, Mr. Michael Landsberry, in different ways. On Thursday, his alma mater, McQueen High School, hosted a special ceremony for him during halftime of the Lancers and Hug football game.
He graduated as a Lancer in 1986 as part of the school's first four-year graduating class. He went on to become a Marine, a Nevada Air National Guardsman and a beloved math teacher.
Lin Pruett graduated from McQueen in 1988. She led the effort to put on Thursday's ceremony. She began working with the school and a number of other groups, who were immediately on board, like the Nevada Army and Air National Guard and the U.S. Marine Corps.
"I wanted to put something out there that was positive about a guy who we grew up with that was always nice to everybody in school, and I'm sure with all of his mates out in Afghanistan when he was out there," she said. "So, I just think it's important to show the respect that we have for him and everything he did for the community."
The ceremony started with some words from one of Michael's best friends, Tom Gordon.
"Of all this talk about Mike being a hero, our first reaction is... DUH, we've known that for 31 years," he told the crowd at Ken Dalton Field.
Gordon told me he met Landsberry before they went to McQueen.
"I met Mike in junior high school honor orchestra," he said. "My timpani mallet broke, and hit him in the side of the head. We've been friends ever since."
He said he was in the McQueen Marching Band with Landsberry.
"He and I were the first two nominees for the McDonald's All-American Marching Band from McQueen," Gordon said.
Washoe County School Superintendent Pedro Martinez also spoke at Thursday's ceremony.
"These connections are so important," he told me. "It's what makes this community so special, and it brings us all together. For me, it was just an honor to be a part of it."
Martinez says it's a time to honor Landsberry for the kind of person he was.
"Beloved sibling, beloved son, beloved teacher, beloved Lancer," he said. "I just think it's great for us to take this time, and not only offer condolences to his family, but also to celebrate his life."
It was silent inside Ken Dalton Field as local Marines and National Guardsmen gave a salute to their fallen comrade during a flag-folding ceremony. The flag will stay at the school to honor Landsberry and his military service.
"This is just something to honor him here with all of us at McQueen," Pruett said. "All the Lancers that were here."
Organizers of the halftime ceremony say the Landsberry family will receive a separate flag-folding ceremony in the near future.
Gordon says he's proud to have gone to school with Michael and become his friend.
"The fact that we helped be the foundation of this school, specifically, the foundation of the music program here was something we've always been extremely proud of here," he said. "The music just blossomed from that with a Mighty Mouse program we were part of the foundation of. The fact that he went on to do great things is only fitting."
Written by Adam Varahachaikol