Albertans were shocked last week from the news that a teenage girl had been slain during school hours by a fellow classmate.
Reports came from RCMP Monday morning that they were on scene at Christ the King School in Leduc following a 911 call reporting a violent incident at the school.
It was later revealed that 17-year-old Jennifer Winkler of Millet, Alta. was stabbed. Jennifer was transferred to the University of Alberta Hospital by STARS Air Ambulance where she passed away on route.
Dylan Pountney, 19, has since been charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death.
Not only was the City of Leduc and the 350 students from Christ the King School in a state of shock from March 15’s events, but so was Jennifer’s hometown of Millet.
Jennifer, or Jenny to those who knew her, grew up and lived in Millet where she was the beloved middle child of a blended family of 10 siblings said her father, Dale Winkler.
In an interview with CBC Winkler expressed his grief and his disbelief that his beautiful, smart and talented daughter could be taken from him so soon.
“I can’t put it into words; I don’t even know how I’m feeling,” Winkler said. “I want everything to be about Jennifer and making sure everyone remembers what a beautiful, loving young girl she was.”
“Jennifer, she was a rock star. She was a loved girl, everybody loved her.”
A memorial was set up last week a few blocks from Winkler’s home at the Millet community centre for Jenny. Millet residents and friends who watched Jenny grow up in the community, from playing hockey with the Millet Storm and more, visited the memorial to remember Jenny and the life of joy she led.
Winkler wants Jenny to be remembered for the light she brought to the lives around her, her hobby of trains that she shared with Winkler and her artistic skills. Jenny had a talent for art said Winkler, “I think she would’ve gone on to university and done some kind of graphic designing or computer designing or art school.”
“It was up to her to choose what she wanted to do.”
At the Millet memorial, photos of Jenny growing up are on display and people have left trinkets and gifts that reminded them of Jenny including Star Wars memorabilia, one of Jenny’s favourite franchises. In addition to memorials across Millet, Leduc and more an online fundraiser to cover funeral costs for Jenny raised over $30,000 in under 48 hours.
Winkler said he is overwhelmed by the support the family has received.
On Thursday March 18, hundreds gathered at Telford Lake in Leduc to release balloons with special messages for Jenny, and many followed the balloon release by placing flowers on the lake in her honour.