BRISTOL, Va. - It was a big night for Virginia High School drama students as they performed The Lion King. The play was the vision of their late teacher Kristin Palmer.
Palmer, her son Griffin and her mother were shot and killed by her estranged husband, according to Washington Count Virginia Sheriff's deputies. Palmer's father was also injured in the attack.
Before the play started, a family friend of Kristin Palmer's spoke to the audience, asking them to continue to reach out to Palmer's father. Students then took the stage for one last tribute to their late teacher and director.
"She won the rights to this play and she touched so many hearts and this is our way of thanking her," said Lexie McCoy, a senior and the stage manager.
McCoy told us they wanted to bring Palmer's vision of the play to life, something that hasn't been easy.
"It's been a really long emotional journey but we've come together as a cast, as a family," McCoy said.
Her classmate, senior Isabelle Blaser, played the character Zazu. Blaser told us they've had many long nights and extra practices to get ready for the performance. Alumni even came back to help the students learn the songs and dances.
"We just put all of the energy we had into this play to commemorate Ms. Palmer and it's just been great," Blaser said.
Blaser told us they followed the directions Palmer left them, like painting Pride Rock gold, but they also added their own parts to remember her.
"We're doing the last song which is 'He Lives In You,' which we kind of re-named 'She Lives In You' so everyone knows its about her," Blaser said.
Principal Ronnie Collins told us the audience won't need a song to remind them of Palmer's legacy, they can just watch the students.
"To see the effort she put into it, you see that same effort and drive in these kids," said Collins. "That's just a testament to the relationships she built and who she was."
Collins told us they had to add another performance because so many students from the surrounding schools wanted to attend. The extra performance is Saturday April 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the Virginia High School Auditorium.