Deanna McDavid was born on January 19, 1944, in Olive Hill, Kentucky, and graduated at Olive Hill High School in 1962. She enrolled at Morehead State University as an English major, and earned a Bachelor of Art degree in 1966. She worked as a high school teacher in Ohio for 14 years, before returning to Carter County in 1981, where she took a senior English teaching position and director of Drama at East Carter High School, in Grayson, Kentucky. McDavid students considered her strict but fair and fearless. At 4 foot 11 inches tall and weighing less than 100 pounds she was one tough woman. She helped organize proms and graduation and led field trips near and far. If a student needed a date for the dance or money for a tux, she took care of it. Her energy level was legendary and she would never let anyone shortchange her students.
Marvin Hicks was an easy going good humored man that made East Carter High a better place to be. He was born and raised in Olive Hill. He was the kind of person who would help anyone broken down on the road. Hicks had a special affection for kids who came from poor circumstances. He would keep an extra quarter to lend kids for a soda. He never bothered anyone but helped as much as he could. As custodian, every morning Hicks would be the first at school to load the soda machine and arrange the cafeteria chairs. Teachers would describe him as a quick worker, happy to help, from changing a light bulb to fixing a broken desk, always with a smile.
On January 18, 1993 both of their lives would be taken by an upset student with a heartbreaking home life. This student brought a weapon to school by concealing it in a duffel bag-type backpack. In the seventh-period he entered his English Class and shot at McDavid. His first shot missed and with McDaniel saying, “What are you doing?!” The second shot hit her in the forehead, and was fatal. Hearing a commotion, Hicks and a social studies teacher entered the classroom to investigate. The shooter turned and fatally wounded Hicks in the abdomen. The shooter then held his classmates hostage for 15 minutes and then surrendered himself to authorities.