Praying for Parkland

Raiders show support, hope for change at Parkland Memorial


photo credit: Valeria Herrera

Supportive Raider \\ Silently paying his respects for the lost lives at Parkland, senior and staff reporter Kieron Hunter takes part in the memorial on Unity Day during the beginning of lunch. “It really brought everything into perspective,” said Hunter. “You hear it all the time on the news how someone died but they really never show their pictures. Actually seeing the pictures of the victims really showed that they were just everyday people.”

Valerie Msafiri

**Winner of an ILPC Individual Achievement Award: 3rd Place Multimedia package**

After a week since Florida’s tragedy, Principal Mike Williams announced that the following Wednesday would be the day to honor those 17 victims who perished in the mass shooting during the beginning of lunch. Students who wanted to participate were allowed to walk out to the center circle and meet at the flagpoles.

“This is a good way to show our support for what happened in Florida,” said junior Kaylen Younger. “As one school in Texas, we can’t really do much but with this walk out, we are at least doing something.”

As one school in Texas, we can’t really do much but with this walk out, we are at least doing something.”

— Kaylen Younger, junior

It has been a month since 17 lives were taken from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Exactly two days following the incident, there was a gun rally in Parkland, where many of the student survivors, one being senior Emma Gonzalez, spoke out in rage about the government, the NRA and gun laws.

 “We are going to be the last mass shooting,” Gonzalez said. “That is going to be  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in that textbook, and it’s all going to be due the tireless efforts of the school board, the faculty members, and most importantly the students.”

Gonzalez’s and her classmates’ speeches caused conversations in the school hallways.

Over 50 WEHS students walked out of their class and met at the center circle where pictures of the Florida victims were displayed next to a mason jar with a lit candle inside. On the ground, was a black poster that read “In Honor of The Lost. This Ribbon Represents…” Students wrote words of love, hope and prayer in chalk on it.

“It was really rewarding to get to see so many of my fellow students come together as something more meaningful than a sporting event,” said senior Kiersten Crenshaw. “Seeing all our hard work pay off and getting the chance to see it resonate with the student body was amazing.”

Towards the end of the 17 minutes of silence, junior Kacy Foley led students in prayer and motivated them to speak up if they were feeling as though the weight of the world was on their shoulders.

“We always have someone to turn to whether it’s God or someone we are close to. Not something but someone,” said Foley. “It’s not their job to check up on you, it’s about you saying ‘Hey, I’m really not okay inside.’ When you don’t take the time to heal, you basically do whatever dark thoughts come to mind. Because one person didn’t get help, 17 lives were taken. Because one person acted out on the hate in his heart instead of healing, 17 lives are hopefully in Heaven, but the rest of us question why this one person didn’t get help.”

Silence broke when junior Collin Taylor came forward.

“It is not a time to just preach about change. It is time make it  and be a part of the change,” said Taylor. “We will be the generation. We need our voices to be heard. If you feel as I do, I hope to see you in Dallas, at the ‘March for Our Lives,’ on April 20. ”