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Remembering Parkland victims with walkout, demanding safety

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Seniors Maggie Jones, Chelsea Lai and Hannah Gilsdorf light 17 candles for the 17 Parkland victims during the March 14 walkout. "It was kind of metaphorical. When the candle was lit, it represented their life, so it was emotional," Jones said.

One student stood halfway up a half-frozen snow bank with three peers, megaphone in hand, while three others crouched on the cement below, using blue and red lighters to light white tea lights in glass votives. “Alyssa Alhadeff, 14,” senior Erica Lemcke began. “Scott Beigel, 35,” she continued. Lemcke read off 15 more names and ages: the 17 victims of the Parkland, Fl. shooting.

Fourteen students and three teachers passed away after a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl. walked into his old school and fatally shot 17 people on Feb. 14. To call for safer schools and in honor of those who have lost their lives, not only in Parkland, but in every school shooting, a group of students planned a school-wide, 17-minute walkout.

Multiple hundreds of students joined the rest of the country in a school walkout on March 14 at 10 a.m. The students crowded out the main doors, past the cafeteria and down to the plaza, just outside of the Pony Activities Center, exercising their First Amendment rights to promote school safety.

“I think now is the time to be respectful and to mourn victims and to make a change that works for everyone, not just a certain political party, but to make our schools safe,” Lemcke said.

I think now is the time to be respectful and to mourn victims and to make a change that works for everyone, not just a certain political party, but to make our schools safe.”

— Erica Lemcke

Seniors Hannah Gilsdorf, Chelsea Lai and Maggie Jones kneeled on the ground in front of a crowd. They lit tea lights and a moment of silence was called. For about two minutes, all was silent as some observers cried and hugged one another among a mass of their peers, an estimated several hundred students.

“I teared up because all of those candles represent human lives that were lost. It really hit me. Seventeen is a lot of people. It’s too many and just sitting there in complete silence [was emotional],” Gilsdorf said.

Most of the walkouts around the nation have been organized by students, including the one held outside the Pony Stadium. Since most high schoolers are not of age to vote, some are attempting to sway public policy in any way they can.

“We may not be able to vote now, but we will be able to vote in one, two years, and our votes will matter, and our votes will change who is in Congress and they will hopefully make an impact on what they decide to do for legislation,” Gilsdorf said.

The organizers are looking forward to potentially planning an April 20 event similar to the March 14 walkout, and are hopeful they would have the same participation and energy weeks from now, but have no plans yet.

“We have a lot of support. We have a lot of people who are angry, and this isn’t going to go away,” Gilsdorf said. “It’s still going to be just as important and matter just as much in April as it did yesterday, as it did a month ago, as it has since Columbine.”

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About the Writer
Mira LaNasa, Print Editor-In-Chief
Mira LaNasa is a senior and a Print Editor-in-Chief of the Pony Express who manages the photography department. She was born in South Korea and now lives in Hugo. She is a member of Amnesty International, Youth for Sustainable Solutions, and Feminists of SAHS.
14 Comments

14 Responses to “Remembering Parkland victims with walkout, demanding safety”

  1. Emma Lowey on April 5th, 2018 1:46 pm

    This story us remarkably impactful, from the lead right down to the last quote. Your writing really put me in the moment. Great work!

    [Reply]

  2. Max Kennedy on April 9th, 2018 10:03 pm

    Your introduction brought an emotional tone to the piece which I thought was very effective at displaying how serious this issue is. I also thought you brought in compelling quotes not for a one sided argument but a bipartisan call to action which I believe is the best way to handle a tragedy like this . All in all, it was a well structured call to action and had compelling quotes to motivate the reader.

    [Reply]

  3. Hannah Boardman on April 10th, 2018 9:03 am

    This article was written beautifully, and it really captured the essence of the walkout. A student perspective is nice to see due to the abundance of mainstream media coverage of the event, which is mainly an adult perspective. This was a very important and emotional event for many people, and I think that this article reflects that.

    [Reply]

  4. Wyatt Wasko on April 11th, 2018 8:55 am

    This story in my opinion was very strong. The short quotes that are used make it feel like we were all standing right there where the candles were lit. Also the facts and background research that was used made the story very informational.

    [Reply]

  5. Mason Wylie on April 12th, 2018 11:53 am

    I really liked this article. The introduction brought an emotional appeal, and really grabbed my attention. The topic was very well introduced, and it let the reader know the importance of the topic. Also, the paragraphs transitioned smoothly from one topic to another. Great job!

    [Reply]

  6. Alyssa Bump on April 13th, 2018 8:24 am

    This article was very informational and the ALT copy is what caught my attention. I really like the interactive feel of the ALT. The article is also written very well. It was very informational and timeless.

    [Reply]

  7. Mark O’Shea on April 13th, 2018 5:07 pm

    Very strong article that hit the emotional chord hard and really made an impact on the students and people reading the article. Helped to show how big this event was to the students of America.

    [Reply]

  8. Katherine Poor on April 22nd, 2018 1:37 pm

    This was a really well written article. It shows the emotion of the walkout and the meaning behind it. Really nice work!!

    [Reply]

  9. James Stahl on April 22nd, 2018 5:50 pm

    The whole story was descriptive and was able to come to life in my mind. The lead does a great job drawing readers in and giving some background. As the story goes on I like how you gave insight on other organized walkouts. Good job

    [Reply]

  10. Paxton Watson on April 22nd, 2018 6:13 pm

    This article was written very well even though it is such a controversial topic. You really did a great job with the quotes too they helped the story.

    [Reply]

  11. Chloe Squires on April 22nd, 2018 7:06 pm

    This story had an amazing lead. Mira did a good job of showcasing the emotional and impactful event that took place on March 14th. This story was very well done!

    [Reply]

  12. Abby Banks on April 23rd, 2018 9:44 pm

    Mira, this was fantastic! I always love reading your features! I loved the use of description throughout the piece, as well as the strong quotes. I honestly have nothing to critique; this story was so good. I thought you handled a very touchy issue and a very serious occasion very tactfully.

    [Reply]

  13. Michelle Burton on April 24th, 2018 8:00 am

    This article really has an impact. The quotes were extremely powerful and the story itself was very well put together. Photos with this story also add a lot.

    [Reply]

  14. Ellie Fedorowski on May 3rd, 2018 10:51 pm

    This story was so touching and detailed. The quotes were outstanding. Very good!

    [Reply]

The Pony Express intends for this area to be used to foster healthy thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to the standards of the Pony Express and to be respectful and constructive. Furthermore, we do not permit any of the following inappropriate content including: Libel or defamatory statements, any copyrighted, trademarked, or intellectual property of others, the use of profanity and foul language or personal attacks. All comments are reviewed and approved by staff to ensure that they meet the standards of this publication. The Pony Express does not allow anonymous comments. We require a name and valid email address submitted. This email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Online comments that are found in violation of these policies will be removed as quickly as possible.

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