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

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

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

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

Mitchell never met Bell personally but decided to reach out to her mom, Keisha Acres, to help her through an unimaginable loss.

“She’s had her days,” Mitchell said. “It’s always an up-and-down thing. It is a tragedy, of course,” said Mitchell.

He’s gotten to know Bell through her mother. The sophomore loved to dance and cook.
Mitchell says her spirit of excellence and energy lives on. She would have turned 17 years old in November. They’re already planning a talent showcase in her memory.

“You are talking about a vibrant child,” Mitchell said. “You are talking about a child that has multiple personalities—always kind, always generous.”

He said Bell was known to offer her friends advice during challenging times. Now it’s the St. Louis Public School District working to support students, teachers, and families still impacted by the school shooting.

“This is a healing process, and it’s not something that can happen in a year,” George Sells with St. Louis Public Schools said. “It’s not something that will happen in two years; it’s something that will go on over time and hopefully each day everyone can feel a little bit better.”