Reality TV stars lift the spirits of Oxnard students
Visit prompted by slaying at E.O. Green
By Cheri Carlson (Contact)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
A dozen students from E.O. Green School in Oxnard stood around a picnic table at a local park Tuesday eating pink vegan cupcakes and waiting for autographed photos of two reality TV stars.
Most of the eighth-graders gathered in the park had never watched CBS' "The Amazing Race," or heard of Kynt and Vyxsin, one of 11 teams that raced around the world on the show's 12th edition.
But that didn't matter, said Jesus Cruz, 13. "They came all the way from Kentucky to see us," he said, "and I think that's pretty cool."
Kynt Cothron and Vyxsin Fiala started planning the visit after hearing about the Feb. 12 shooting inside a computer lab at E.O. Green that left Larry King, 15, dead.
They wanted to show their support for the two dozen other students in the lab that day, a first-period English class taught by Dawn Boldrin.
Prosecutors have charged King's classmate Brandon McInerney, 14, with first-degree murder and a hate crime. Authorities have declined to elaborate on that charge and have not released details about a motive.
Some at the Oxnard junior high school had seen King being teased by students in the weeks before the shooting for being gay and wearing high-heeled boots and makeup, and that's partly what drew Kynt to the school.
Kynt, 30, and Vyxsin, 28, described as "dating goths" by the television series, wear a lot of black and pink.
They also wear makeup. On Tuesday, they wore pink and white eye shadow to the picnic.
Kynt said he was a victim of an attack a few years ago because people didn't like the way he looked.
"It's horrific what happened to Lawrence," Kynt said Tuesday. "But these children are victims, too" and they might be overlooked.
"They got some cupcakes, sugar and some smiles," said Boldrin, who helped Kynt and Vyxsin work out the arrangements at the Port Hueneme park. She wanted the kids to have something positive in the midst of everything they have gone through — and continue to go through.
Her students walk into their first-period class every day with two of their classmates missing.
She worries that they don't get enough support, and sometimes that maybe things are brought up too much.
She also worries about asking her class to go back to a computer lab. She doesn't have nearly enough computers in her own classroom and wishes she could find laptops they could use.
"There's no road map for this," Boldrin said.
On Tuesday, she just wanted them to have a little fun.
Why Kynt and Vyxsin?
"These two people called," Boldrin said. "Nobody else called. Nobody else has offered."
She said she can't thank them enough.
In the park, students snacked on the cupcakes, made by Vyxsin, and asked questions about the race. Kynt and Vyxsin chatted with them, posed for pictures and shook a lot of hands.
"I put a picture of you on my wall," eighth-grader Jackie Arzola, 14, told Kynt. It was "awesome" that they came, she said later, "to know that they're supporting us."
In the days and weeks since the shooting, vigils in King's name were held from coast to coast, and thousands of comments have been left on Internet sites dedicated to his memory.
Tonight, Kynt and Vyxsin have planned a vigil in King's memory in West Hollywood, Kynt said. He also plans to collect letters of support for E.O. Green students — something he didn't want to talk about Tuesday in front of the kids because he wanted to let them keep the mood light.
"Today's just about pink and black and cupcakes," he said with a laugh, a Hello Kitty balloon floating from a tree above his head.