The victims were Liam Hale and Janie Cozzi of Fayston; Mary Harris and Cyrus Zschau of Moretown; and Eli Brookens of Waterbury.
"I think it's with a collective broken heart that we're all here tonight," said Patrick McHugh of Waterbury, who began planning the vigil after his daughter, a Harwood sophomore, came to him asking what they could do.
People at the vigil
Many people held long-stemmed candles or squat ones in mason jars as they filled the soccer field outside the high school. The crowd was so large it required a small army of volunteers to manage the parking.
Many people brought candles to the vigil.
McHugh and the other speakers stood on a stepladder platform looking out onto the crowd. McHugh told the students' families, some of whom came to the event, "We love you. We loved your beautiful children, and we're here."
Gov. Peter Shumlin spoke. "There are no words to express the extraordinary sadness of this moment, but what we can rejoice in is that we have this extraordinary community," he said. He went on, "You know, I've had the privilege of being governor for six years and this is the saddest moment."
"Obviously this person has had one hell of a troubled life," he said. "Vengeance does no good. Anger will only lead to violence. Think of these families, these children, our community, and let's be bigger than the bad guys."