By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - When University of Tennessee senior Genna Rossi headed home to Newtown, Connecticut for winter break, she never could have imagined the events she was about to witness.
"My sister was actually in the high school at the time and we got the call that the school had been put on lockdown," said Rossi.
As she turned on the TV and saw the first images, her first fear was her sister.
"We didn't know if there was other people running around to other schools in our town," she said. "There were a lot of rumors about how many shooters there were."
As time went by and Rossi learned her sister was safe, the reality set in about exactly what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which she attended for five years.
"The classroom that it happened in was my first grade classroom," said Rossi. "When they were talking about it on the news, I could see the path that he was taking and see exactly where it was happening."
As her town and the country began to grieve, Rossi also grieved for the students who survived and the future children of Newtown.
"Everyone is going to see Newtown in this terrible light and I think it's the greatest place I could have ever grown up in, so its just sad seeing that these kids won't get the same great Sandy Hook school experience that I had," said Rossi.
Rossi says the outpouring of support from the rest of the country can still be felt throughout the community, but it also serves as a constant reminder of the tragedy.
"There wasn't a time I could drive around town and not be sad and not think about it," said Rossi.
Rossi says the focus is shifting from the events that happened to healing those affected.
She says that's something that will simply take time.