Solidarity

Michelle Prestigiacomo

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On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz, armed with an AR 15 assault rifle, walked in to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire. Hundreds of students at Stoneman Douglas ran out of the school, fearing for their lives.  On February 14, 2018, seventeen innocent members of the student body and staff were murdered. One month later, on March 14, 2018, the teenagers at Stoneman Douglas did not run out of the building, but walked out. This time as they exited the school, they were not alone. Thousands of students nationwide partook in the National School Walkout to protest gun violence and honor those seventeen that were so wrongly killed. Some students at the Academy of Saint Elizabeth were part of those thousands.

        At 10 am, many students – seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen, met on the Sisters of Charity patio in order to honor those seventeen lives that were taken. Rather than remain silent for those seventeen minutes outside, senior volunteers read short biographies of the seventeen-people killed, the signs that were ignored on the timeline leading up to Cruz’s massacre, examples of student activism, and the mission statement of The Academy of Saint Elizabeth with a brief explanation of how the mission statement related to the Parkland shooting. This was followed by a short passage from one of the survivors of the shooting, Steph DeOliveira, a senior at Marjory Stoneman, who shared her experience in the 1200 building that day.

        The walk out bought not only the teenagers of the nation, but also the student body of Saint Elizabeth closer together. Standing out there on the patio in the cold brisk air, listening intently to what was being read, while crying on each other’s shoulders, the students at St. E’s came together. We stood in solidarity as a school. We stood in solidarity for those who died. We stood in solidarity for those still alive, and for those still suffering.

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