Rachael Elizabeth Hill

Age: 18

Class: Freshman

Major: Biological Sciences

Hometown: Glen Allen (Richmond), VA

High School: Grove Avenue Christian (Richmond, VA) - Class of 2006

Died along with Prof. Couture-Nowak and 10 other students in French class.

Photos

Audio/Video Remembrances

 

Personal Remembrances From Family/Friends/Colleagues

Celebrating the Life of Rachael Elizabeth Hill: A memorial webpage put forth by her high school (Grove Avenue Christian in Richmond, VA)

Submit your personal remembrance for posting here (please include your name and relationship).

Newspaper Remembrance Stories

The One Coming Out of the Wilderness
(Roanoke Times Profile)

Rachael Elizabeth Hill was at peace with the Lord when she was fatally shot at Virginia Tech, according to her high school superintendant and pastor.

Hill, 18, a freshman, graduated last year from the Grove Avenue Christian School in Henrico County, which is affiliated with the Grove Avenue Baptist Church.

"The world has lost one of its brightest prospects, but the Lord is glorified through ... the life that she lived and the impact Rachael had on others in the name of Jesus Christ," Clay Fogler, the school’s superintendent, said in a statement.

Fogler expressed sympathy, support and prayers for Hill’s family and the families of all the victims.

"Rachael had a wonderful, close, loving relationship with her parents," he said. "Any parent would have counted it a privilege to have called her their daughter.

Hill possessed beauty, intelligence, poise, leadership and other wonderful traits, including being "perpetually prepared" because of her belief in God, Fogler said.

"One of her beloved scriptures is Song of Solomon, 8:5 — ‘Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?’" he said. "Rachael saw herself as the one coming out of the wilderness and needing to lean on her Savior more and more."

Fogler said Hill’s senior yearbook quote from C.S. Lewis summed up what school officials believe she would say at this time.

"God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain."

Pastor Mark Becton of the Grove Avenue Baptist Church said he spoke with Hill’s mother, Tammy, who was comforted by her daughter’s closeness to the Lord.

"Rachael was a young woman of high character, strong integrity and deep faith in her walk with Jesus Christ," Becton said.

"Our hope is that God will use this to turn more people toward him rather than away from him. That was Rachael’s life and so that is our prayer."

— John Cramer (Roanoke Times, 4/18/07)

New York Times Profile:

Rachael Elizabeth Hill was the star of her high school volleyball team and a top piano player. But her friends and former teachers at Grove Avenue Christian School in Richmond, Va., say it was her faith that made her stand out.

In her yearbook, she chose a quote from C.S. Lewis to accompany her photo, and those who knew her say it was a prophetic line that may have brought her comfort in her final moments at Virginia Tech on Monday.

"God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain."

Ms. Hill, an only child, was an 18-year-old freshman at Virginia Tech with an interest in biology.

Clay Fogler, the superintendent at Grove Avenue, said she showed such grit as the captain of the school's volleyball team - earning her the "Sportswoman of the Year" award as a senior - but was also known for her infectious sense of humor. On the volleyball court, she would draw attention and chuckles from her teammates with her bright, colorful Converse high-tops. She was also deeply religious, quoting scriptures with ease and drawing lessons about life from the Bible.

"The world has lost one of its brightest prospects," said Clay Fogler, the school's superintendent. "But the Lord is glorified through the life that she lived and the impact Rachael had on others in the name of Jesus Christ."

Freshman was committed to faith
USAToday Profile

For freshman Rachael Elizabeth Hill, going away to college last year was difficult. She had spent her entire childhood attending a small religious school where she knew everyone.

"She was a leader in everything she did. The kids here are really mourning," said Anna Reinstein, an English teacher at Grove Avenue Christian School in Richmond, Va.

Reinstein said Hill, 18, of Glen Allen, Va., worked on the school yearbook and excelled in volleyball and classical piano. She said Hill was "110% committed to the Lord" and considered a career in music but felt called to Virginia Tech.

She went from a high school graduating class of nine to a campus of 25,000. One former classmate became her roommate.

"I still keep thinking she's going to walk through the door," Hill's former teacher said. "We take comfort in the fact she's with the Lord."

Washington Post Profile:

News of Rachael Hill's death hit hard at Grove Avenue Christian School in Richmond, a school with just 260 students, said Mark Becton, pastor of its affiliated church, Grove Avenue Baptist.

"What was so special and yet painful about it was that she was part of a graduating class of 10 seniors who knew each other very well," Becton said. Many of Hill's close friends returned to their school to grieve together yesterday.

Becton described Hill as a "gracious and infectious" young woman who grew up in a deeply religious family in suburban Richmond.

She was honored by the school last year as sportswoman of the year for her play on the volleyball team. Afterward, Becton said, she turned to her coach and quipped, "I think I can have my jersey retired now."

Now, Becton said, they will retire the jersey.

-- Annie Gowen, The Washington Post

Chronicle of Higher Education Profile:

With faith, intelligence, and humor, Rachael Elizabeth Hill, 18, didn’t want for much — except maybe another pair of brightly colored sneakers or high heels.

“She had shoes to go with just about every single outfit,” says Clay P. Fogler, the school administrator at Grove Avenue Christian School, in Richmond, which Ms. Hill attended from kindergarten through 12th grade. Even in her school uniform or dressed to defeat a volleyball opponent, with her parents perpetually looking on, Ms. Hill knew how to shine with those shoes.

Not that people were looking at her feet. They were more likely to keep their eyes on her flexible wrists and nimble fingers. She started piano lessons when her legs were still dangling off the bench and just kept on playing. As a setter for the school’s volleyball team, she was “all business,” Mr. Fogler says, and, as a senior, she was selected as team captain and honored as the most valuable player in her league.

“When Rachael and I played volleyball, it felt so natural and free,” wrote one of her high-school friends on a memorial Facebook page.

Off the court, Ms. Hill was all laid-back grace, Mr. Fogler says. And quick-fire ingenuity, adds Marie C. Teodori, her former science instructor and mentor.

A freshman at Virginia Tech, Ms. Hill told Ms. Teodori she was definitely leaning toward a major in biochemistry and a career in nanotechnology when she joined current Grove students three weeks ago at a banquet celebrating their scientific research.

Ms. Hill always loved science, Ms. Teodori says, and she distinguished herself with probing questions. “It was not enough for her to know the facts of science, she always wanted to know: Why are these the facts? What does this mean? And how can this be useful?” she says.

During Ms. Hill’s junior year of high school, Ms. Teodori says, she begged to do a special research project and ultimately spent part of the year studying the human nervous system. Her request, Ms. Teodori says, has empowered other students to follow her example.

Curiosity and faith came together in Ms. Hill’s “sweet spirit,” says Peter A. Teodori, Marie’s husband and Ms. Hill’s Bible and calculus teacher.

Her favorite Bible verse, Mr. Teodori recalls, was from Song of Solomon, 8:5: “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?”

—Sierra Millman

Virginia Tech Magazine Profile (5/07)

Rachael Elizabeth Hill of Glen Allen, Va., loved to read—especially novels and the Bible. An accomplished classical pianist, she had studied piano since she was six years old.

Rachael had definite educational goals. Although she had just started college last fall, she knew she wanted to earn a Ph.D. in biochemistry, specializing in nanotechnology.

The daughter of Allen and Tammy Hill, she was a 2006 graduate of Grove Avenue Christian School in Richmond. The entire class of 2006 was exceptionally close. Their consensus, and that of all those who knew Rachael well, is that it is difficult to capture the beauty, intelligence, poise, leadership, and other wonderful traits that Rachael possessed.

She enjoyed classic movies, playing volleyball, shopping for shoes, and hanging out with her parents.

Rachael was perpetually prepared. One of her beloved scriptures is Song of Solomon 8:5, “Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” She saw herself as the one coming out of the wilderness and needing to lean on her Savior more and more. Her personal goal was to glorify God in all she did through her Lord Jesus Christ.

Rachael’s high school administrator writes, “The world has lost one of its brightest prospects, but the Lord is glorified through the Daughter of the King that she is, the life that she lived, and the impact Rachael had on others in the name of Jesus.”

Her senior yearbook quote from C.S. Lewis sums up best what her family feels she would say at this time, “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.”

Memorial Scholarship

Through the Virginia Tech Foundation, the Rachael Elizabeth Hill Memorial Scholarship has been established at Virginia Tech in her memory. For more information and/or to donate to this memorial fund, see VT's Hokie Spirit Memorial Funds page.