Exchange student, teachers among the victims in Texas school shooting

A Pakistani exchange student was among those killed during the school shooting in Texas on Friday, the New York Post reports.

Sabika Sheikh had been planning to return to Pakistan in June, but she was caught in the gunfire at Santa Fe High School that left 10 people dead. Sheikh had been participating in a State Department program that aimed to strengthen connections between the United States and Muslim countries.

Megan Lysaght, who manages the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program, said the girl’s death was devastating.

“It is with great sadness in my heart that I need to inform you that one of our YES students, Sabika Sheikh of Pakistan, was killed today in the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas,” Lysaght, wrote. “Please know that the YES program is devastated by this loss and we will remember Sabika and her families (sic) in our thoughts and prayers.”

The program seeks to “promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of countries with significant Muslim populations.”

The Pakistan Embassy wrote on Facebook that “our thoughts and prayers are with Sabika’s family and friends.”

Also among the victims was Cynthia Tisdale, an art teacher whose niece called her “a woman who loved her family so much.”

Tisdale had been married to her husband for nearly 40 years and had several children and eight grandchildren, KHOU-TV reports. The gunman shot and killed three students who were sitting in her class: Shana Fisher, Chris Stone and Kim Vaughan.

Stone, a sophomore, was a football player and is said to have known the killer, according to interviews with friends and family, the newspaper reports.

“chris stone was a such a sweet and funny boy and always knew how to make anyone laugh,” a friend wrote on Twitter. “my heart is shattered to hear that he is gone and i pray for all his family and friends going through this.”

Students Angelique Ramirez and Kyle McLeod also were killed.

As news of the shooting broke, Ramirez’s friend Sylvia Prichett posted a message online pleading for help finding her. Prichett later learned that Ramirez was among the victims.

“My family and I appreciate all the calls, text and prayers but as you can imagine I just can’t reply to everyone right now. Please keep all the families in your thoughts, and hug your children tightly,” Prichett wrote on Facebook.

Another educator, substitute teacher Ann Perkins, died Friday. Her friends and family members said she was a wonderful mother and respected classroom leader.

“Ann Perkins was a beloved teacher, family friend, & woman,” a student wrote on Twitter. “She enjoyed spending time with her children, grandchildren, & students. She lived an impeccable life filled with traveling, love, family, & a bit of champagne. Rest easy our beautiful nurturing angel.”

[Feature Photo: Cynthia Tisdale and Angelique Ramirez/Facebook]