Former CVPA student reaches out to her mother as she struggles with unimaginable loss

ST. LOUIS – It has been a year since the tragic shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. Classes there were canceled so students could focus on healing. FOX 2’s Laura Simon caught up with a spokesperson for the mother of one of the victims to learn how she dealt with this unimaginable loss.

Most people in the St. Louis community will never forget October 24, 2022. A former Central Visual and Performing Arts High School student shot his way into the building, taking the lives of 15-year-old Alexzandria Bell and beloved teacher Jean Kuzcka.

“It’s a tough day for everyone,” said George Sells of St. Louis Public Schools.

Jay Mitchell graduated from CVPA in 2010. He has fond memories of Ms. Kuzcka.
The physical education, health and finance teacher worked at CVPA for 14 years. She was a wife, mother and grandmother.

Mitchell never met Bell personally, but decided to turn to her mother, Keisha Acres, to help her through an unimaginable loss.

“She had her period,” Mitchell said. “It’s always ups and downs. It’s a tragedy, of course,” Mitchell said.

He met Bell through her mother. The sophomore loved dancing and cooking.
Mitchell says her spirit of excellence and energy lives on. She would have turned 17 in November. They are already planning a talent show in her memory.

“You’re talking about a lively child,” Mitchell said. “You’re talking about a child with multiple personalities – always kind, always generous.”

He said Bell was known for giving advice to her friends during difficult times. Now the St. Louis Public School District is working to support students, teachers and families still affected by the school shooting.

“This is a healing process, and it can’t happen in a year,” said George Sells of St. Louis Public Schools. “This won’t happen in two years; This will continue over time and we hope everyone feels a little better every day.”

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