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UNG Remembers Day to honor four students

UNG Remembers Day will honor four students who died this past year. The students are Jared Attaway, Mohammed Kassim, Ryan Oreszko, and McKenzi Middlebrooks.

University of North Georgia (UNG) students Jared Attaway, Mohammed Kassim, Ryan Oreszko, and McKenzi Middlebrooks will be memorialized April 24 during UNG Remembers Day ceremonies.

"The day is meant to recognize and celebrate the lives of the students who have died this past year," said Dr. Alyson Paul, dean of students for UNG's Gainesville and Cumming campuses.

Students' names will be etched into a memorial marker on their home campuses. They will be remembered with a moment of silence. Students, faculty and staff also may share some thoughts about the students briefly.

Students honored will be:

  • Jared Attaway at 4 p.m. in front of Memorial Hall on the Dahlonega Campus.
  • Mohammed Kassim and Ryan Oreszko at noon in the Memorial Gardens on the Gainesville Campus.
  • McKenzi Middlebrooks at noon in the Memorial area near the first entrance on the Oconee Campus.

Attaway and Kassim will be awarded degrees posthumously during their respective ceremonies. Attaway will receive two Associate of Arts degrees in modern language and political science. Kassim will receive an Associate of Arts in business administration. Paul said both families will attend and accept the degrees.

Funded by the Student Government Associations, the markers are a permanent fixture to commemorate students who have died while enrolled at UNG. Names on the markers on the Cumming, Gainesville and Oconee campuses date back to 2013.

The Dahlonega Campus' Memorial marker was developed to honor former students who were killed while serving the country during time of war. It was dedicated in 1983. As interest in the project increased, the concept was expanded to include a marker to record the names of students who died while enrolled at UNG.

"We had to add a marker in April 2018 for the new names on the Dahlonega Campus because that campus has had a marker for 25-plus years," Paul said.

UNG Remembers Day was developed as a way for students, faculty and staff to have a common experience and remember their classmates.

"Each person had an impact on the people they interacted with on each campus," Paul said. "And for a lot of students, this may be the first person they know to have died. Processing that is difficult."

She said the ceremonies and day of remembrance were designed to help students deal with grief on a campus level and in a safe environment.

"No one is ready to lose 18- to 20-year-olds," Paul said. "But it's important for people to know three things. One, they can come and grieve. Two, they can celebrate the impact the person had. Three, they are not alone."

Professional counselors on campus also have specific training to help guide students of all ages through the grief and adjustment process. They may contact Student Counseling.

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