By Len Ramirez

GILROY (KPIX 5) — Gilroy Unified School District officials welcomed students back to school just two and a half weeks after the Garlic Festival Shootings.

For some students it was a routine back to school day.

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“The first day of school was like, starting off good,” said 5th Grader Ervin Villatoro.

But for others, it was part emotional, part scary, even with the increased presence of police outside Gilroy High.

“I personally did not want to come to school,” said Senior Yadira Lopez. “I didn’t feel too safe, especially after what had happened.”

It’s a tradition at Gilroy High School for 12-graders to create their own senior crown for the rally on first day of school.

Yadira dedicated hers to the shooting victims.

“They were never going to be able to accomplish their dreams.”

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Gilroy Unified’s Superintendent says many students are still affected.

“It’s had a very big impact on our community,” said Dr. Deborah Flores.

Hundreds of students and their families have gone through emotional counseling offered by the district at school sites. And teachers reminded students that services will be available throughout the school year.

“Bad things can lead to good things because we’ve really come together as a community.

We’re really united and we’re going to be stronger,” Dr. Flores said.

Yadira said she’s proud of her hometown.

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“We are a strong community and we will get over this,” she said.