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Strength through unity; Students wear white in support

Photo+by+Morgan+Shelton
Photo by Morgan Shelton

Photo by Morgan Shelton

Photo by Morgan Shelton

Graham Hill and Chloe Aikman, Staff Writers

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Students assembled early on the morning of Feb. 19 at the steps of the school’s entrance, wearing white as a display of unity in response to the recent tragedy in Parkland, Fla.

“I wore white in solidarity with my peers,” freshman Lily Fitzgerald said. “We are sending prayers, condolences and love, but we are also sending the message to our lawmakers that change must occur to end school shootings for good.”

At the foot of the flagpole, two resident choral groups performed pieces to encourage messages of hope, love and perseverance. Pawcappella sang “This Little Light of Mine”, followed by the Pink Panther’s performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and the performance was concluded with a symbolic 17-second-long silence.

“I think this song… we perform this a lot and it always makes people feel something – and so making people feel love and hope is really important in times of darkness,” sophomore and Pink Panthers performer Artemis Xenick said. “We spent a lot of time talking about the message, and it’s about broken love and how love is painful, but love is still worth it, which is obviously the message of this.”

This display was entirely student-led and spearheaded by junior Lily MacIntyre, who was inspired in part by Friday’s chalk demonstration that involved writing names of schools impacted by shootings across the concrete in front of the school. MacIntyre was also motivated by a desire to act in the wake of the tragedy.

“I think just because usually after a couple days, it just goes away, and this time it’s not – there needs to be a change and it has to be now,” MacIntyre said. “If you see something, say something – don’t let this go. Keep fighting for the change.”

This comes amidst several movements in reaction to the recent shooting, including increased awareness of lockdown and safety protocols.

“I would hope this is something being displayed in every school across America – these are definitely the leaders of tomorrow,” Principal Johnny Bush said. “People like this are going to make stuff change.”

The event concluded with a group of students, clad in white, holding a sign that read: “Strength through unity, students 4 change”.

“It just shows that plant is very involved and supportive community and that we really do follow the strength through unity motto,” senior Jordan Hacker said. “I think it’s important to have events like this because it brings awareness to the issue… and also helps show to those directly affected that they’re not alone and they have [the] support of a lot of people across the state and even across the country.” There are other ways students can send a message to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. A large poster is currently in main hall and students are encouraged to write messages of hope and solidarity.

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Strength through unity; Students wear white in support