Today marks one month since the tragic shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD). 17 students and faculty members were killed by a single gunman in approximately 6 minutes.
Students from Mount Dora High School, Mount Dora Middle School and Roseborough Montessori joined students across the country in the National School Walkout this morning. The national event focused on solidarity in asking that lawmakers enact reforms to prevent school shootings and show remembrance of MSD students. The collective protest started at 10 a.m. across all time zones and lasted seventeen minutes, one minute for each Parkland victim.
Locally, the student-planned events ranged from short memorials to a march to Mount Dora City Hall. Student participation was voluntary.
Hundreds of Mount Dora High School students walked out onto the expansive campus courtyard for a non-political memorial organized by fellow students. It was obvious the respectful gathering was not a social one.
Senior Class President Ashley Mabrey wrote a moving speech that eloquently fostered remembrance and kindness toward others. Mabrey concluded her speech by saying, “We had an abundance of reasons to change campus culture before, and these 17 beautiful lives lost give us even more of a reason to change. It’s time to reflect on how we treat others, and step up to step in if someone is being treated poorly.”
Students stood somberly for a moment of silence which was followed by “Taps,” played by student Caleb Sellers. The names of the seventeen Parkland victims were read aloud as a balloon was released for each.
Throngs of Mount Dora Middle School students also participated by walking outside and listening to the names of the victims. Montessori at Roseborough students marched to Mount Dora City Hall with protest signs and continued on to the post office to mail 47 letters asking lawmakers for legislative reforms.
Lake County’s public middle and high schools submitted their student-led plans to the superintendent for review last week. The plans included student “walk-ins” on campus with moments of silence, ringing a bell 17 times – one time for each of the lives lost in the shooting, collecting donations to send to a support fund, signing banners and sending letters to students at MSD High School. Students were not required to participate and extra security was on hand.
“It was important to all of us that the events be student-planned and student-led,” said Diane Kornegay, Lake County Schools Superintendent. “The culture of support that our teachers and administrators have created for our students has been tremendous.”
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