Classes have been canceled at St. Johnsbury Academy today, out of respect for Melissa Jenkins, a science teacher at the school who was reported missing late Sunday night.
Headmaster Tom Lovett, speaking at a full school assembly this morning, told the school that it’s okay to experience whatever emotion they are feeling right now - he’s been through them all himself. But in the end, he said, “Love always wins.”
Students and faculty at the school are planning a fundraiser Friday where people will wear pink - Jenkins’ favorite color - in her honor. The school is starting an education fund for Jenkins’ 2-year-old son, who was found alone in her car, parked by the side of Goss Hollow Road in St. Johnsbury and still running, on Sunday night. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the education fund. Some local businesses have also expressed interest in donations. Check the St. Johnsbury Academy web site for details.
Police have said a body found in Barnet yesterday - about 12 miles from Jenkins’ car - is likely the missing teacher, although they have not made a final identification pending today’s autopsy on the body. The criminal investigation into her disappearance continues today, with “several leads” in the case, but police are not releasing much information in order to protect the integrity of the investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting State Police in the matter.
Outside Fuller Hall today, a hand-written sign read “We love you Miss Jenkins.” Paper bags — for holding candles — decorated with messages for Jenkins are lined up on either side of the side walk leading to Fuller Hall, a remnant of Monday night’s vigil for the missing teacher.
-Jenna Pizzi | Staff Writer