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School leaders remember Chris Rhoden, Jr. as "loyal" and "hardworking"

Photo of Chris Rhoden, the 16-year-old was among the 8 killed Friday, April 22 in Pike County, Ohio.

PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WRGT) - Counselors and clergy are on-hand today at Piketon High School, giving support to students and staff after the small community was rocked by the mass shooting that left 8 family members dead.

The high school's principal, Jeff Reuter, stood along side the district's superintendent, Dr. Todd Burkitt, to talk about freshman Chris Rhoden, Jr., who was one of the 8 killed execution style Friday, April 22.

"I don't know how much education is going on today to be honest with you, and that's okay," said Reuter. Reuter said between 12 and 15 clergy and counselors are stationed at the school today to help students and staff who need help dealing with the tragic situation.

In a statement sent out Monday, superintendent Dr. Todd Burkitt asked for everyone's thoughts and prayers for the community.

"I would ask that all the folks who hear about this tragedy take a moment and appreciate the special gifts in their lives-especially family and friends. Just take a moment out of your busy lives and tell the special people around you that you love and care for them."

RELATED COVERAGE:Community mourning death of Rhoden family members

Reuter said state testing has been moved back a couple of days and the school's Prom Spirit Week dress up days have been canceled. Rueter said the school is "trying to make things as normal and respectful as possible."

Both Reuter and Burkitt remember Chris Rhoden, Jr. as a stubborn, well-liked student who was always "one to roll up his sleeves" and loyal. "Loyal is just the word that really resonates with me when I think about him," said Dr. Burkitt. "He was always going to be right there to help out a buddy, help a sister, help a brother, whatever it was he was going to be there to help out in any way he could."

As the school year comes to a close, Reuter said he issued a challenge to students to be as kind as they can to one another, because as Dr. Burkitt said the community learned, "time is not guaranteed."

RELATED COVERAGE:Illegal grow operations found at three locations in Pike County mass shooting

If you have any information that can help investigators, they're asking that you call 1-855-BCI-OHIO or the Pike County Sheriff's Office at 740-947-2111.

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