BOCA RATON, Fla. (CBSMiami) – Lynn University dedicated the Remembrance Plaza Friday morning to recognize the six people from the school who died during the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Over two years in the making, the million dollar Remembrance Plaza dedicated to the students and faculty who were killed in the Haiti earthquake on January 12, 2010 stands near the front of the campus. It is made of granite and glass with a waterfall, a moving, lasting legacy to the six who had travelled to Haiti on a humanitarian mission..
Before the dedication, the university presented bachelor’s degrees to the parents of the students who died.while performing community service in Haiti.
When the earthquake hit, the Lynn University group was on a “Journey of Hope” to bring food and aid to the poor.
The group was trapped in the Hotel Montana which had collapsed around and on top of them. They were Stephanie Crispinelli, Britney Gengel, Christine Gianacaci and Courtney Hayes, and faculty members Richard Bruno and Patrick Hartwick.
“Our four families came here two years ago, under the worst possible circumstances. We were then and will always be a family,” said Jean Gianacaci. The Gianacaci’s have a foundation in their daughter’s honor which has helped thousands of needy children in the United States.
Lynn Crispinelli fought back tears, describing the schools they’ve opened in Jamaica in their daughter’s honor.
“Together we will continue what Stephanie started and Stephanie’s mission to change the world one child at a time,” said Crispinelli.
Angie Hayes remembered her daughter Courtney, as a ‘sweet one who was always there to help.’
“Her love for children was magical. I understand why she had to go to Haiti to help,” said Hayes.
After walking through the Remembrance Plaza, Len and Cherylann Gengel said it was a bittersweet day. They have opened an orphanage in Haiti fulfilling their daughter’s wish.
“It was Britney’s graduation day and hopefully she graduated with honors,” said Cherylann Gengel.
“We felt our daughter’s spirit, it was a beautiful experience,” added Len Gengel.
Eight other students survived including Missy Eliott and Tom Schloemer.