St. John's Prep students lose loved ones in Kenya mall attack - KMSP-TV

St. John's Prep students lose loved ones in Kenya mall attack

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COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) -

The attacks on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi hit close to home at St. John's Prep School in Collegeville, Minn. Three students there are mourning the loss of loved ones who died in the al-Shabaab attack in Kenya.

On Monday, the school -- where 25 percent of the student body are from across the globe -- held a prayer service to show support for the students, two of which are sister's from Kenya and another student from Ghana.

"We were surprised that we had students connected to something so tragic, but as a school that has students from 18 different countries, it's not unusual that we have students who are connected to global news," Matt Reichert, the principal, said.

The school also places a strong emphasis on faith and community, so Reichert said it was important to bring the school together in the wake of the attacks.

"We reflected on violence, we prayed for peace; we reflected on ways all of us can be agents of peace both here and abroad," he said. "We held up and remembered their families that were wounded and grieving."

The students lost an uncle and a grandfather, and they know friends and neighbors who were injured as well. The school told FOX 9 News the students are doing well, but it is difficult to continue learning information about who put their families in harm's way.

"As we watch this news story -- just surprised and horrified," Reichert explained. "It takes on a new lens for us, knowing the names and faces from the stories and families of these students that we're so close to. It really hits home in a personal way for all of us."

FOX 9 News also spoke with another Minnesota woman who lost a relative in the attack. Fearing for the safety of her parents and loved ones in Kenya, she did not want to use her name or appear on camera.

"The very first thing I did was call my loved ones to make sure they were okay," she recalled. "Then, to hear the devastating news -- it was very sad and just, gets you scared. I did not know what to do."

As the standoff continues, the woman admitted the fear of additional losses remains.

"I'm very worried. I just pray and hope that nothing else happens, but it's very worrisome," she said. "Every day, I look at the news and make sure nothing new has occurred."

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