Local Students Remember The Florida School Shooting Victims

Lisa Perry and Kit Huffman

As more than 200 Rockbridge County High School teens ambled back into the school’s cafeteria Wednesday after a 10 a.m. walkout that honored 17 slain in Florida , a flurry of snowflakes poured forth from the gray skies as soft, swift and earnest as the words of remembrance students had just spoken.

The student body had stood solemn and stoic in frigid, mute silence as RCHS senior Kathryn Brodie read the names and ages of 14 fellow high schoolers, two coaches and a teacher massacred Feb. 14 at Marjorie Stoneman High School in Florida. The students joined others nationwide during the  #Enough National School Walkout organized by Women’s March Youth Empower.

Nicholas Dworet, 17. Aaron Feis, 37. Jaime Guttenberg, 14. Alyssa Alhadeff, 14. Scott Beigel, 35. Meadow Pollack, 18. Christopher Hixon, 49. Luke Hoyer, 15. Carmen Schentrup, 16. Gina Montalto, 14. Alex Schachter, 14. Peter Wang, 15. Alaina Petty, 14. Martin Duque Anguiano, 14. Helena Ramsey, 17. Joaquin Oliver, 17. Cara Loughran, 14.

Those names echoed at RCHS, and at Parry McCluer High School at a similar simultaneous observance, where about 80 students walked out there. Lylburn Downing Middle School and Maury River Middle School likewise conducted walkouts to honor the dead and wounded.

“Don’t let this be the only thing you do. Continue saying what you believe. We are the generation that can create change,” RCHS senior Sophia Youngdahl, who coordinated the event with RCHS senior Lulu West, said. 

About 120 Lylburn Downing middle schoolers gathered below the pavilion at Richardson Park, standing in solemn silence in the pre-snow chill while the long quarter-hour-plus passed.  After the silence, five eighth graders took turns reading aloud from their prepared statement.  School safety is “a controversial issue, but it shouldn’t be,” part of the statement read.  “Our purpose is to raise awareness and express frustration.”

About 200 students at Maury River walked the track for the 17 minutes.

For more on the local events, see the March 21 edition of The News-Gazette.

photos by Stephanie Mikels Blevins, Claudia Schwab, Lisa Perry and Kit Huffman



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