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Ridge View High assistant principal remembers Gabbie Swainson during annual scholarship fundraiser | 'She lost her life tragically'

'Cuts 4 Gabbiee' helps raise money for graduating seniors to attend college.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Students, staff, and community members went to class at Ridge View High School on Sunday, but not for learning in an academic sense. They were there for the school's 11th annual "Cuts 4 Gabbiee" fundraiser. The event is in memory of Gabbiee Swainson. 

Swainson was 15 years old when she was kidnapped and murdered in August 2012. The current assistant principal at the Richland Two School, Dr. Jean Greene, said that the school holds the yearly fundraiser to keep her story alive.

Ridgeview's barber instructor, Carlos Howard, said Gabbiee left a mark on more than just the school.

"She was such an inspiration to not only this school community but also to the local community, so we're rallying each year to commemorate her loss," Howard said.

The event helps fund scholarships for high school seniors.

"We actually give out two to three scholarships each year, annually, to our graduating seniors to help them go to school," Dr. Greene said.

On this day, the barbers carefully carved hairlines, remembering Gabbiee's story as they go.

"When I was in high school, it was actually the year she was abducted; we're the same age," barber Joshua Belton said. "I just feel like you kind of hate being helpless in certain situations, so this is my way of kind of helping."

While some remember the story like it was yesterday, others walked the same halls that Swainson did more than a decade ago. Justice Johnson is a 2022 graduate of Ridge Vew High School.

"We're giving people a chance; we're fundraising money for a scholarship, so we're giving people a chance at what Gabbiee couldn't do," Johnson said.

Together on Sunday, a community kept Gabbie Swainson's story going by contributing to other students' legacies.

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