Students walk-out to remember Parkland


Photo Credit: Keaton Carlisle

As Matt Shiels reads the 17 names of those killed in Parkland Florida, he releases balloons to memorialize them.

A 17 minute walk-out occurred at the high school yesterday as students joined youth across America to memorialize the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who died in the recent tragedy and to protest gun violence.

Prior to the walk-out, a high school assembly was held in the gymnasium. History teachers Chris Pohlman and Kathleen Walter discussed past peaceful protests, walk-outs, and a recent visit by activist John Stokes. 

Interrupting the lecture at 9:45, senior Jean Walter announced to the students in the auditorium that the walk out was beginning.  Approximately 500 to 600 students rose and walked out to the track.  

Photo Credit: Keaton Carlisle
Senior Gabby Feige gives a sign of approval as students walk-out to the football field to memorialize the victims.

Security foresight was evident to students as the passed numerous police officers who were stationed around the facility. Trucks were parked strategically to block the entrances to the high school parking lot.

Once students were outside, they massed on the track behind the bleachers and the student leaders used the risers as a platform. The 17 minute countdown began, one minute for each victim killed at Parkland. Around the five student presenters were 17 balloons, one to represent each life lost.

Junior Catherine Merkle sang the National Anthem, and the pledge was led by freshman Casey Bedwell-Coll.

Senior Jean Walter, who co-organized the walkout with Bedwell-Coll, spoke about gun violence in America and how legislation needs to restrict access on guns.

“We demand action from legislators because we don’t want to be next,” she said. “We are the new generation and we are done risking our lives.”

Junior Matt Shields read the names of the victims and balloons were released for each name. 

Since the walkout was allowed by the school, some students felt that the cooperation detracted from the overall movement, as it was no longer civil disobedience.

Nevertheless, many felt that the walkout was successful and allowed students to express their beliefs in a safe, peaceful way.

“I think it went really well,” said sophomore Ben Halpern. “I’m just glad some student leaders actually went out and organized something, and I feel we as a community got together.”