by Alaa Wedaa

At approximately 10 am on Wednesday, March 14th, students nationwide walked out of school. This date marks one month after the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17.

At Park View, over 200 students gathered around the flagpole outside of the school, standing in silence for 17 minutes to honor the 17 dead. In the front, closest to the flagpole were the class officers for each grade and student body officers, totaling 17. In each of their hands was one single white flower, and after each minute of silence, one of those students said the name of a deceased person and laid the flower down by the American Flag.

Matthew Chesnutt, sophomore, shared his thoughts during the silence. “When they were laying the flowers down, we had a minute for each one and we were saying the names. It really hit me. These kids are no different than me. These students are no different, these teachers are no different. They’re real people who had families and friends and made an impact in their communities. Their absence is felt widely across the country and in their school.”

Students were also given the opportunity to sign their name on a poster to show solidarity to the survivors in Parkland. It was silent. Arguably the most silent the students have been in a long time. Senior Nyjsha Kellibrew said, “I think that it really shows that even though we’re from different places, we need to be united. It is a huge matter because we have had a lot of shootings, we need to show that it’s important to us not just in Florida, it’s important everywhere.”

After the 17 minutes, Interfaith United, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Muslim Student Association formed a prayer circle at the spirit rock. The rock was decorated in memoriam to Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the initials of the dead painted upon it among other things. The students in those clubs, as well as anyone else who wanted to join, held hands and engaged in a small prayer, lasting around five minutes.

Park View students also had some messages to the students in Parkland, FL. Josiah Dentu, sophomore, shared his condolences, “I’m sorry you guys had to go through that, police officers should’ve been there, or somebody you know. Somebody should’ve been there.” Park View is standing with Parkland. #ParkStrong. One common message students had for those in the affected communities was to stay strong and that they are supported.  Junior Helene Nguyen summed up the thought of the day, “Lives matter. Every life matters.”