This Washington DC entrant for this year’s Rose of Tralee, has spoken about her heartbreak over the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

Dorothy Henggeler, who was a student at the university  revealed her memories of the tragedy that killed 32-people and injured 25.

Although the 25-year-old was abroad when the massacre took place, it still had a huge impact on her life.

“A week later, I flew home and the first thing I did was get off the plane and drive right down there. It’s one of those kind of events that changes your life and changes your perspective on life,” she said.

Now working as a communications coordinator for a financial firm, she says the horror of that day will stay with her forever.

“There were 32 victims in the shooting and that’s something that I will take with me forever. We call ourselves the hokies and wherever you meet another hokie in the world, you acknowledge them and it’s always been like that.”

Gunman Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting spree in Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia before turning the gun on himself on April 16, 2007, in the most deadly shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history.


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“We are a fantastic school. We like to be remembered for what a great community we are and not for what the tragic event was,” Henggeler added.

The  Washington DC Rose, Dorothy Henggeler is competing in Ireland’s prestigious pagent, where women are judged not on their looks but their personality and whether or not they would be a good ambassador for Ireland.

Described as a 'celebration of the aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility and Irish heritage' of modern young women,  the festival is currently underway in County Kerry. The main event which will showcase the Roses and their talent, takes place this Monday and Tuesday.