The evening after the fatal Oct. 13 shooting of a Rogers Park resident and teacher near the Morse Red Line stop, a vigil was held to mourn the loss of 64-year-old Cynthia Trevillion.
About 100 people — friends, family, colleagues and current and former students — sung softly by candlelight at the vigil in Tobey Prinz Park on Pratt Street. A rainy Saturday let up for a brief hour as those who knew Trevillion came forward to speak about her life.
Trevillion was a teacher at the Chicago Waldorf School on West Loyola Avenue, where her husband also teaches. She was remembered fondly by speakers at the vigil for her commitment to her students and her love of the Chicago Cubs. Classes were cancelled at the Waldorf Oct. 17 so students and faculty could attend her funeral.
Alyson Ramesh, main office manager at the Waldorf, wrote in an email statement to The PHOENIX that Trevillion was a beloved teacher at the school for more than 30 years, and that grief counselors were present at the school Monday, Oct. 16, to speak with faculty and staff.
“Just as Cynthia was a proud source of strength for Rogers Park, the Chicago Waldorf School stands resolute in our commitment to be a force of good for our neighborhood and Chicago. Cynthia’s spirit will carry us in this important work,” Ramesh wrote.
An online fundraiser launched by two Waldorf Board of Trustee members to cover Trevillion’s funeral costs raised more than $32,000 as of Tuesday.
Trevillion was shot in the head and neck in the 6900 block of North Glenwood Avenue on Friday at about 6:30 p.m., according to the Chicago Police Department. She wasn’t the intended target of the shooting, CPD also said. After being rushed to Presence Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston in critical condition, Trevillion was later declared dead.
Just a half hour earlier, a 15-year-old boy was shot in the lower back near the intersection of Touhy Avenue and North Ridge Boulevard, police said. He was rushed to Presence Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston in critical condition and later transported to Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, according to CPD News Affairs Officer Thomas Sweeney.
Both incidents are still under investigation, and nobody is in custody, Sweeney said.
As Rogers Park residents gathered together to recount stories of Trevillion’s fun math games in class and the times she baked treats for her students, some recognized it could’ve been anyone shot on that block.
Todd Thiry, who attended the vigil, said his wife is also a teacher and his child attends the Waldorf School, so news of Trevillion’s death shocked his family and him.
“It’s very difficult to say goodbye to a friend and a colleague,” Thiry, 46, said.
People who didn’t personally know Trevillion knew her by reputation or knew somebody who knew her.
Danielle Westmore, a 44-year-old mother from Rogers Park, said she attended the vigil to show solidarity with friends who knew Trevillion and with the wider neighborhood community.
“I think what makes our community so special is that it is diverse,” Westmore said. “The people here are not afraid to have the conversation that needs to be had. These are forward-thinking individuals, and we’re looking for a way to bridge the gaps that we see in systemic oppression and systemic violence … We want to be better. We want better for everyone around us.”
Allison Fila, a 21-year-old Loyola senior, was working at Heartland Cafe on Glenwood Avenue, near where the shooting occurred, the evening of Trevillion’s death. She said her manager, co-workers and she all heard the gunfire.
“It was a couple pops, and I just thought it was fireworks,” the statistics and psychology double major said. “I didn’t know what was going on … it was only a few blocks away from Heartland.”
Fila said she’s used to there being gun violence in Rogers Park but had never experienced it so close. However, she said the incident doesn’t make her feel any less safe, as she’s spent nearly five years in the city.
While community members at the vigil also said they’ve become accustomed to the frequency of gun violence in Rogers Park, many — like Westmore — still said they think it’s difficult to talk about.
“I have a 4-year-old daughter, and I don’t know what to tell her,” Westmore said.