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Quarter Three 2019 • Volume 4, Number 3

in service


Design by Rebecca Schneid

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 5901 Pine Island Road Parkland, FL 33076

The Eagle Eye Quarter Three 2018 • Volume 4, Number 3

Contents Photo by Farrah Nickerson

Front Cover: Photo by Nyan Clarke

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The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School or Broward County Public Schools. The publication is a member of the Florida Scholastic Press Association, the National Scholastic Press Association, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association. If you would like to advertise please call (754) 322-2150 or email MSDEagleEyeNews@gmail.com

Visit us at: eagleeye.news @HumansofMSD on Instagram @EagleEyeMSD on Twitter @EagleEyeMSD on Instagram

03 Letters to the Editor MSD In Brief 04 Defining Survivorship 07 09 Recapping the Report 10 Hard Choices 12 Books Not Bullets 13 Watching Over Our Schools 15 Terror on TV

MSD student body shares their perspective on various issues

New developments occur at MSD

MSD deals with controversy surrounding ‘survivor’ label

MSDHS safety commission releases preliminary report

Students experience implementation of hard corners

Arming teachers would only exacerbate issue of gun violence

Guardian program allows school employees to carry firearms

Television depictions of mass shootings can have harmful effects

Photo by Brianna Fisher

Editorial Board Hannah Kapoor Rebecca Schneid Editors-in-Chief

Anna Dittman Brianna fisher Zoe Gordon Taylor Morrison Dara Rosen Associate Editors

Nyan Clarke Photo Editor

Ryan Lofurno Sports Editor

Leni Steinhardt Multimedia Editor

Taylor Yon Business Manager

Einav cohen Managing Editor

Staff Writers

Kaleela Rosenthal Farrah Nickerson Rishita Malakapalli Ava Steil Brianna Jesionowski Bianca Navas Elama Ali

Alex Han Kacie Shatzkamer Tara Gaines Brian Martinez Joyce Han Jenna Harris Nicole Suarez

Melissa Falkowski Adviser

17 19 Sending Support 22 Labor of Love A Day of service and love 24 Sand and Serenity 26 27 Healing Heartbreak 28 Hearts of Hope Together in Prayer 30

The Freshman Experience

MSD freshmen describe the positives and negatives of their first year of high school

Sandy Hook Elementary and Columbine High School survivors share advice with MSD MSD student and teacher join forces to create memorial garden

Students and faculty spend Feb. 14, 2019 donating time to service projects

Students clean up Deerfield beach and participate in yoga on Feb. 14, 2019

MSD students chose personal routes to heal, in lieu of service projects

HandsOn Broward creates art panels and organizes 17 service projects

Five thousand attend sunset interfaith service at Pine Trails Park


Design by Rebecca Schneid

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Silenced by Stigma

Dear Editor, My biggest problem with this school is the negligence that teachers have for mental issues in students. With the pressure put on students to have good grades and take AP classes, increased anxiety is inevitable. Anxiety disorders are extremely common in adolescents; however, teachers don’t show any concern for this. When a student is crying or having an anxiety attack, a teacher will most likely ignore him or her. In some cases, the teacher will ask the student if they would like to go to the bathroom, but they rarely do more than that. I’m not asking teachers to stop their lesson to console a student and ask them about their bad day. My point is that teachers should be more sympathetic. Students have a lot on their plates nowadays and it’s okay to have a bad day. Sometimes crying or just missing a class or two is what someone needs to destress. This is what I think teachers need to understand. Yasmin Gay, 9

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Dear Editor, I am going to be completely honest and say that I have a lot of issues with this school, but I will be gone in less than five months, so I am not going to complain anymore. But, I want to make sure incoming students don’t have to go through what I had to deal with. My biggest issue about this school, and something I complain and think about every day is the lack of respect the majority of adults on campus give the students. I have never raised my voice or been intentionally rude to any administration. I respect that they are in charge of me while I am in school, but I expect respect in return. Asking simple questions to people in the office makes them snap at me and makes me feel like I’m dumb. I think teachers and administration need to realize that we students see how they treat us, and it’s upsetting, not just to me, but to many others as well. I would have thought after what we went through, there would be more understanding. I love a few of my teachers who have shown me kindness and compassion, but other than that it’s honestly hard to pick people out who have been like that. I just want to bring this to attention. I’m not sure what can be done about this, but I think it’s important to at least speak about it. Anna Damas, 12

Send us a letter Have something to say about school? Have something to say about a local, national or global issue? Have something to say about this issue of The Eagle Eye? We want to hear your opinions. Email submissions to: msdeagleeyenews@gmail.com

Submissions must be between 100-250 words

Un-balanced

Dear Editor, I feel like as we get older that the choices we make in our lives greatly affect us, and with school,these choices are amplified. I often feel as though high school is a catalyst for our lives. For people like me this isn’t helpful but overwhelming. Do I take AP to look good for college even though my teachers warn against it? Should I hang out with friends or tackle the huge pile of homework that has been

rapidly growing? In the moment choices seem simple, don’t take the AP and do your homework. But are those the correct choices? What about my friends who I must ditch in order to keep a good grade? These choices often feel like a balancing act. So, I’m going to leave you with this: How are we as 14 to 18-years-old’s supposed to look in to the future to know the correct choices to make? Augustus Griffith, 11

Be Gone Bullies Dear Editor, One thing that I believed is overlooked at this school is the amount of bullying that goes on: mild to severe. Bullies are people who habitually seek to harm or intimidate others whom they perceive as vulnerable. They may do it to feel popular, be seen as “tough,” and even look “cool” to their peers. They may bully because they are going through situations that allow anger to build up within them. As a result, the only way to get the frustration out is by pinning it on others. Throughout our educational career, we have had many interventions about bullying and that we shouldn’t partake in it. Newsflash: they don’t work. I’m writing this in hopes that it will cross

paths with someone who needs to hear it. To the ones that get the heat. Don’t let it get to you. When you hear someone speak ill under their breath, know you are worth more than those words. Remember that you are an amazing person and that the words coming from someone who doesn’t know your true character does not validate you. To the ones who perform the acts. Why? Is it necessary for survival? This world is filled with enough hate. It isn’t fair for you to be spreading more of it. I have optimism that one day you will open your eyes just enough to realize there are other ways to relieve frustration and anger; there are other ways to make friends; and there are other ways to be a decent human being. Emily Lievano, 12

Freshman Frustration Dear Editor, I know school security and attendance are important, but freshman face an additional obstacle that no other students face when it come to leaving school for a medical appointment or personal obligation. In every other grade, students can be signed out of school by their parent via email (with telephone confirmation). However, current MSD policy states that freshman can only be signed out by their parents, prohibiting an older sibling or emergency contact from picking them up if needed. This policy makes absolutely no sense,

especially when there is an older sibling on campus leaving school at the same time. The current policy requires parents to miss work in order to come to school and sign out a child who could otherwise walk or ride home with someone else. There is no reason why a policy that is good enough for sophomores, juniors and seniors is not acceptable for freshman. Why can a sophomore sign themself out, but not a freshman? I just don’t understand why this is where the line is drawn on this topic. Jamie Goldberg, 9

Craving Creativity Dear Editor, While reading “Creativity in the Classroom,” I found myself agreeing completely. I am a creative person myself, and find more traditional ways of teaching to hinder my creative potential. Hands on, interactive assignments force us to pay attention, and if it’s entertaining enough, possibly even enjoy it. I also think it could have to do with the teacher. A couple of years ago I had a teacher who gave piles of homework,

taught my least favorite subject and took notes all class. And yet, to this day, it’s still my favorite class I’ve ever taken. That teacher had a way of teaching that got us involved and excited. I think it’s important for us to use creativity in the classroom, especially the core classes. It gets us to thrive, not survive, and reach our potential. “Creativity in the Classroom” captured perfectly an opinion I didn’t know I had. Reese Lansman, 9

Brushed Aside

Dear Editor, Please know that this is not a direct attack against anyone in particular, but I believe I must bring this issue to light. Nearly everyone is guilty of this, and from what I see, even this newspaper is guilty. What I am talking about is the under appreciation of freshman and sophomores in this school. I hear it in the halls and on the bus. “Don’t listen to him, he’s a stupid freshman.” Teachers gloss over the complaints and needs of freshman and sophomores. Even this newspaper seems to only publish the opinion pieces of juniors and seniors. This piece will probably be brushed aside by the waves of political pieces and people complaining how the portables are too far away. This school needs to realize that freshman and sophomores are people too. Ethan Zeichner, 9

A One Star Review Dear Editor, I am going to make a long story short, the school lunches are gross. I understand that food is expensive in the long run, but selling expired apple slices and week old pizzas to hungry students is not acceptable. The school has received so many donations and funding, yet they waste it all on things students or administrators don’t even use. I appreciate the school receiving a makeover, I really do, but there are things that need to be focused on instead of those Skool Live touchscreens. The school lunches are one of these issues. Students expect to buy food that is healthy and fresh, but the food they are receiving are frozen, week-old pizza. The vending machines are their own problem on their own. If students are hungry, but do not have the tolerance to stomach down the school lunches, there are a multitude of vending machines around the campus. Once you reach these vending machines, however, you are greeted by a caged vending machine. The purpose of the cage is to prevent people from smashing the glass window; that is understandable. I cannot understand the purpose to stock the vending machines full of diet or fat-free food items. The baked chips are fine enough, but the diet drinks are terrible. I haven’t met a person who likes Sprite Zero in my life. In the end, change the lunches to a fresher and healthier alternative and just please get regular Sprite or Coca-Cola. Thank you. Jessica Bergeron,11

Letters to the Editor 03


New developments occur at MSD

msd in brief

Playing with Magic

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or three nights, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and faculty came together as a community to experience the world of Shakespeare with the play “A Rockin’ Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed by the Drama Club from March 7-9 in the auditorium. Four hundred and fifty tickets were sold for between $8-$15, and the proceeds will be used for future drama productions. The main cast of the play features senior Alex Wind as Oberon, senior Sawyer Garrity as Titania, sophomore Peri Harris as Puck, senior Alex Athanasiou as Lysander, junior Ethan Kaufman as Demetrius, sophomore Avery Anger as Hermia, senior Dylan Redshaw as Helena, junior Andrea Peña as Hippolyta, junior Tanzil Philip as Theseus, and freshman David Prengler as Nick Bottom. The drama students prepared for this play for about two months. They rehearsed almost every day during and after school, sometimes even rehearsing on the weekends. Drama teacher Melody Herzfeld and the student music directors Tan Philip and Andrea Peña determined who would be cast in each role following auditions. Usually the cast tries to make it their goal to memorize all their lines, or go “off book,” at least a month before the show. Then they have “tech week,” where they work on stage with all the technical parts of the show running. They would usually do two to three full run throughs of the show during this “tech week.” “In our production, we have student leaders who have assisted in direction, choreography, art, music and really in every aspect of the show–putting their hands in to make it come together,”

Herzfeld said. “We are a blessed group and we do know that when all else goes wrong, love is truly what it’s all about; how much you give, how much you take and how much you share with others–in the end love will right this world we live in.” The plot of the play is the epitome of the lives of a community being flipped completely around in one night, but being restored once again with the power of love. “It was a super cool experience and we had so much fun doing it. It’s really fun getting to work on a big project like this all together. The show is a comedy about what happens when a little mischief enters someone’s life and mixes it up,” Garrity said. “Couples get switched up, people get turned into donkeys, and there’s a dog on stage. It’s a really fun and lighthearted show which is nice to do in the midst of everything we have going on in our lives.” “A Rockin Midsummer Night’s Dream” was created by Michael Unger of NewArts of Newtown, Connecticut in the summer of 2014. NewArts was an art and youth empowerment organization that was created to help kids develop personalities and boost their confidence through theatre. NewArts was started by Dr. Michael Baroody, who wanted to create this organization as a response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. “It is my hope that, as in the play, love, alongside the type of boldness that demands compassion, builds community, and promotes understanding, will combat the negative forces that inevitably get thrown in our paths...” Unger said in an interview with Broadway World. Herzfeld felt a connection to this particular play and the reason for its creation.

A Fairy Good Time. Senior Sawyer Garrity played Titania in the play “A Rockin Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Photo by Nyan Clarke

“The fact that it was created in a community much like ours, that had experienced the same pain and tragedy, made it seem meant to be,” Herzfeld said. Senior Shai Har Nov attended the production and felt it was an entertaining interpretation of Shakespeare’s original play. “[The show] was really well prepared and was truly a comedy, probably even better than what Shakespeare intended,” Har Nov said. “I also really liked how there was a live band to accompany the students and how it was more interactive with the students coming from the audience or running into it.” Senior Calista Ng also loved the band, as well as the special appearance of River, Media Specialist Diana Haneski’s dog. “My friends and I also were excited about Mrs. Haneski’s dog, River, making

Craving the Crown

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n Thursday Jan. 17, the Mr. Douglas male beauty pageant took place in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event cost $7 at the door, and was a fundraiser for the LED Dance Club to purchase graduation cords for seniors club members. One male contestant was chosen from each grade and sign ups occurred a week before the event. The four contestants were senior Darryl Verna, junior Magnus Peterson, sophomore Jaydin Fernandez and freshman Dennis Morgan. The pageant consisted of a swim wear contest, a skit and random questions from the judges. Contestants were asked to create their own presentations and entertain the audience, which were judged by English teachers Stacey Lippel

04 News • MSD in Brief

and Dara Hass, as well as debate teacher Jacob Abraham. “I enjoy volunteering and participating in school activities. It’s enjoyable when the people putting on the events really care and the students seemed to love the show,” Abraham said. Halfway through the show, the LED Dance Club performed to entertain the audience while the contestants prepared for the second half of the show. The winners were announced by the hosts, seniors Zion Belmond, Robert Mandachescu and Walincove Mompremier. “The first half was great. It was lots of fun to host; the contestants were funny and the crowd loved every part of it,” Belmond said. Each contestant was awarded a sash

MSD drama takes on Shakespeare with a rock–and–roll twist

an appearance towards the end of the play,” Ng said. “After reading the playbill, and realizing that the director/creator of this rendition of ‘A Rockin Midsummer Night’s Dream’ did it in an environment where the people suffered losses from the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School, I felt even more emotionally connected with the play. I really felt that the night I watched it, everyone including the audience and actors, were all together as one community and one heart.” Herzfeld created a VIP student ticket program, which was offered for the first time with this production. The program allows teachers to select a deserving student in their classes to receive a free ticket to a drama production as a classroom incentive. There were 20 students who received VIP tickets. Story by Alex Han

LED Dance Club puts on the second annual Mr. Douglas show

for what they did best: Vernal received most creative, Peterson received most photogenic, Fernandez received most talented and Morgan received Mr. Congeniality. In the end, Peterson placed first and was crowned the newest Mr. Douglas. Verna finished in second place, Morgan in third and Fernandez in fourth. “It was cool. I had no intentions of doing it and it all started when Nick [Joseph] came up to me and told me I had to sign up,” Peterson said. “I was super surprised when I won, and it was a neat experience. I am glad I signed up.” This event was the second annual Mr. Douglas competition and was a hit Crowned. Host Robert Mandachescu crowns among the audience of 60 people. The event raised a total of $500. Story by Tara as the newest Mr. Douglas, junior Magnus Peterson. Photo by Ryen Kowalczyk Gaines


Design by Dara Rosen

An Empty nest Few MSD students in attendance on Feb. 15

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n Feb. 15 only 170 students, a mere 5 percent of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s 3,278 students, attended school. Students still followed their silver day schedule classes, periods 1-4, which stretched over the length of a normal school day from 7:40 a.m.-2:40 p.m. However, the activities students experienced were not those of an average school day. Prior to the week of Feb. 14, administration issued a form, which listed the four activities that would be available for students on campus on Feb.14, as well as an option not to attend school on Friday, Feb. 15. Based on the responses on the forms, administration expected 900 students to attend on that Friday, though the reality turned out to be much lower. In anticipation that attendance numbers for both students and teachers would be lower than normal, administration asked each department to devise engaging activities for students to do, knowing that the regularly scheduled curriculum was going to be interrupted. Each period, all the classes within each department met in one assigned classroom or location. “All the classes combined, and we had special presentations and demonstrations,” astronomy teacher Brandon Jeter said. Classes in the career and technology department met in the culinary room, where students whipped up pancakes, while classes from the science department entertained the students

in the main courtyard with various experiments. Chemistry teacher Sean Simpson used cornstarch mixed with water to create a non-Newtonian fluid. In other words, a type of goop was created, that reacts under pressure and forms a solid-like surface that a person can run across. As a result, students were able to run across the liquid. Principal Ty Thompson and TV production teacher Eric Garner took turns testing out the experiment. “There was something good about seeing Thompson getting involved and smiling for a minute,” Garner said. Not only did Thompson engage with the students during Simpson’s experiment, but he also treated everyone on campus to lunch. While the normal school day has two 36-minute lunch periods, those in attendance on the Feb. 15 got to enjoy an hour long lunch. During that time, an obstacle course was set up to get students active in the main courtyard. “A cross-fit place came and set up a course,” Garner said. “Pretty much everybody went through the obstacles. It seemed to be a lot of fun for those who participated.” Towards the end of the day, the science department ventured back outside to conduct a different experiment. This experiment was edible, acting as a dessert after lunch. “I got some liquid nitrogen donated as well as some flowers from Publix,”

Cross-fit Course. Environmental science teacher Tammy Orilio and Spanish teacher Alicia Blonde participate in lunchtime activities on Feb. 15. Photo courtesy of Eric Garner

Simpson said. “We made some ice cream with the liquid nitrogen.” While both non-Newtonian fluid and ice cream were heavily enjoyed, Simpson had another surprise in store for the students. Instead of creating something, Simpson and Jeter brought some chaos to an otherwise calm day. “Simpson had liquid nitrogen and a ton of flowers,” Garner said. “He froze flowers and froze oranges and froze pretty much anything we could find and put into liquid nitrogen, and then we dropped it and broke it.” In total, 103 staff members, including teachers, office staff and security took a personal day on Friday, Feb. 15 Teachers who came to school for the day said they came in order to support their students. “I came to school really to be here

SeE You on the Court

You Just Got Served. The Lady Eagles beach Tuesday, Mar. 12. Photo by Kacie Shatzkamer

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he official women’s varsity volleyball season concluded in November. However, not all players were ready to give up playing with a team until next season. Sophomore Capri Lica had the idea and initiative to start a beach volleyball club. Lica noticed that various other schools in Broward County had the club sport, and thought it was a great opportunity to introduce this club to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Lica has played beach volleyball for years, and when she came to MSD in

in support of the students as well as my peers. I felt like I was driven to come here, that I needed to be apart of this place,” Garner said. “I think if I sat at home by myself it just would not have been healthy for me. I needed to be active and see my students.” The goal of the day was to provide students with an activity-filled day to help distract themselves from the trauma they experienced the year before. “I think it is important that we always are learning during the school day, that we do not waste time. Just about any day that I can be, I’m here,” Jeter said. “Also, some kids do not have anywhere else to go; they need to come to school. So we need to makes sure they have a day in which they can learn and have some fun while doing so.” Story by Ava Steil

Student introduces new beach volleyball club

been announced a month in advance. Sophomore Izzy Sandbrand was also surprised by the turnout and was very pleased to make the team after hearing about it from her friends. “Around 15 people showed up; it’s great. Beach volleyball is so much fun, and I love my teammates,” Sandbrand said. Lica’s father assisted her in finding and recruiting a coach that would be interested in coaching the team. Together, they approached their family friend, who is a very well-known volleyball coach. Following a string of discussions, Lica was able to enlist professional beach volleyball coach Dave Palm. Palm was awarded the National volleyball team participated in a scrimmage on Volleyball League’s Breakthrough Athlete of the Year in 2014, and also won his first October, she decided that she would NVL tournament at the Panama City Beach make her favorite hobby available to all Championships in 2015. students. Although this sport started recently, “I decided to create this club, not only the team has been rapidly practicing because I enjoy playing, but because it in order to catch up with the teams opens a new realm of activity for students that already had games in this season. who don’t have the opportunity to Practices vary from two to four times participate outside of school,” Lica says. a week. Usually, they’re on Mondays Tryouts were open and available for and Wednesdays, but sometimes they anyone. They were held in late December, can be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays but the sport did not officially commence depending on court space. until after winter break in January. “Practices can last up to three or four Lica was impressed with the large hours, but mostly are only one,” Lica turnout, especially since the club had only says. “The reason practices last so long is

because our main goal is to go over our communication, offense and defense.” The MSD beach volleyball team is part of the Sunshine State Athletic Conference High School Beach Volleyball League, which is in its second season. The league is a partnership by both SSAC and the Florida Region of USA Volleyball. The MSD team is in the Class AA South Florida Division along with Fort Lauderdale High School, iMater Preparatory School, Archbishop McCarthy High School, Western High School and Vero Beach High School. The beach volleyball team had their first scrimmage on Tuesday, Mar. 12. The team played against Archbishop McCarthy High School. The game was located at Weston Regional Park at 3 p.m. Although the scores were close, Archbishop won the scrimmage. The team had their first official game on Mar. 14 against Fort Lauderdale High School. MSD beat Fort Lauderdale High School 5-2. “I feel as our game today went really well,” sophomore Sofie Cheremeta said. “Of course we have to work on some skills to better ourselves but overall, I’m really proud of our team.” The team will play a total of six games before their season ends in April. Story by

Kacie Shatzkamer

News • MSD in Brief 05


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Defining

Design by Ashley Ferrer & Kacie Shatzkamer Photo illustration by Nyan Clarke

MSD students and teachers discuss controversy surrounding ‘survivor’ label

Survivorship

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he trauma of Feb. 14, 2018 has been a defining battle for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students this past year. The entirety of the MSD community and those with connections have been deeply affected, but a debate remains as to what defines a survivor of the shooting- and whether or not it is appropriate to identify as one. The term “survivor” and “victim” have different meanings according to the Cambridge Dictionary. A survivor is “a person who continues to live, especially after a dangerous event.” A victim on the other hand, is “a person who has suffered the effects of violence or illness or bad luck.” In context, though, these formulaic answers and definitions are much less practical. This debate pervades in many areas of the community, with many feeling that only those who were located in the 1200 building or near the gunfire should be considered survivors. In a tweet posted by activist and former MSD student Cameron Kasky, he expressed his discontent with those using this word to address him. “Please do not call me a ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ of a mass shooting. I was 100+

yards away from the gunfire. There are kids who had to climb over dead bodies. In my opinion, calling me a victim or witness or survivor diminishes what they went through. I was completely safe,” Kasky tweeted. Kasky’s tweet received backlash and sympathy alike from many Twitter users and MSD students. Many within the community agree with this sentiment, and find offense from being labeled as such.

junior O’kayhvia Ferguson said. “I survived the emotional turmoil, I survived the ‘what ifs.’ I was able to get out unharmed, so I firmly believe that I survived; it’s something that I’ll never forget, and I will now have to survive the memories.” Some teachers, who not only were affected personally, but also were responsible for the safety of their students, feel the same way. “I would still be a survivor because I

environment in the school has changed to a more strict environment to where you feel like it’s thick, like there’s nothing that happy going on around you anymore.” Yet, at the same time, some of those who were injured have seen the evils of such a word. Some claim that people have exploited the identity of “survivor” to receive benefits or to garner pity for their own advantage. “Many students used the term for their own ill reasons such as trying to get free stuff after the incident or they used it in their college essays to get accepted, not necessarily writing from their heart,” senior Isabel Chequer said. “To me, everyone did survive something and their experience, whether it be that they were in the building or not, shouldn’t be demoted.” For teachers, students and community members alike, the wound of February 14 runs deep–deeper for some than for survived the shooting, whether I was in the others. Whether one deems themselves as On the other side of the debate, there are also a plethora of students that believe building or not. You’re a victim because a survivor, a victim, or neither, people will you’re still suffering the repercussions of all of those within the school that day always have their own viewpoint of the what happened that day,” Spanish teacher term. Whatever that viewpoint involves, should be considered survivors of the Julie Matlock said. “You’re suffering it same disease: gun violence. it does not change the fact that everyone “I think of myself as a survivor. I wasn’t through your students, you’re suffering it went through a different experience and through yourself, through feeling secure, physically affected by what happened at has emotions as a result of the tragedy through feeling safe. You know that the our school, but I was mentally affected,” that occurred. Story by Elama Ali

I survived the emotional turmoil, I survived the ‘what ifs.’ I was able to get out unharmed, so I firmly believe that I survived; it’s something that I’ll never forget, and I will now have to survive the memories.

Feature • Survivorship 07


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Recapping the Report MSDHS Safety Commission releases preliminary report with legislative recommendations

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n Jan. 2, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Commission released a preliminary report of the commission’s finding in their investigation into the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The commission was formed as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act passed by the Florida legislature and signed into law by former Gov. Rick Scott on March 9, 2018. The 456-page report includes nine chapters of recommendations from the commission, which is intended to be used by the Florida state legislature to pass more laws in regards to school safety. The commission is comprised of 15 appointees, which include individuals from a

variety of backgrounds, including law enforcement and parents of the victims. Max Schachter, whose son Alex was one of the 17 people killed at MSD, is a commission member. “I wanted to be on [the commission] because my little boy Alex was in the first classroom that was shot... he was basically the warning shot for all the other kids on the first and second floor,” Schachter said. “I did it because I wanted to understand what happened Feb. 14 and understand who is responsible and hold those contemplating individuals accountable. We’ve done a lot of good work.” Below is just some of the recommendations made by the commission. The full report can be found at www.fdle.state.fl.us/MSDHS Story by Einav Cohen

School Safety

On-campus SROs

Advocating for Alex. Max Schachter, the father of Alex Schachter, asks a question during the third day of meetings of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. Photo courtesy of Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-

Sentinel/TNS

Police Response to Incidents

Invite experts from the Office of Safe Schools (OSS) to review and revise the safety plan given to them annually.

SROs should have access to all educational and disciplinary records and their decisions around law enforcement actions must be endorsed by the officers.

All Florida public schools should immediately provide law enforcement with real-time access to school camera systems; officers should know how to operate the cameras

Establishes clear roles and responsibilities in a written policy and procedure manual given to all school personnel.

The SROs should be issued patrol rifles and ballistic vests with immediate availability on campus.

All school campus gates must remain closed and locked.

Each SRO Should be receiving frequent and realistic training so that they can handle high-stress situations.

All Broward County law enforcement and fire/EMS agencies should establish protocols for unified command at all mass casualty incidents.

All teachers should be able to lock doors from within the classroom, and keys should be on their person at all times. Every district and school should have a written, unambiguous code red or similar active assailant response policy that is well known to all school personnel, parents and students. Every school must have an effective communication system through which everyone on campus can see and/or hear— and immediately react to—a called code red or similar active assailant response notification. Every school must have an effective communication system through which everyone on campus can see and/or hear— and immediately react to—a called code red or similar active assailant response notification. Classrooms should establish safety measures, such as hard corners or other safe areas, and teachers should have the ability to cover door windows quickly. Schools should evaluate and give consideration to the appropriateness of locking bathrooms doors.

School Discipline Any “school-based juvenile pre-arrest diversion program” must be defined in school policy and approved by the district school board. There is a specific minimum criteria for this diversion program, but each circuit has an authority which can establish new criteria.

There should be a minimum of one law enforcement officer on every middle and high school campus and at least one law enforcement officer or guardian on every elementary school campus. The Florida legislature should expand the guardian program to allow teachers who volunteer—in addition to those now authorized—who are properly selected, thoroughly screened and extensively trained to carry concealed firearms on campuses for self protection and the protection of other staff and students in response to an active assailant incident.

ESE Laws Establish a Florida work group to determine necessary changes to federal law regarding exceptional student education and then coordinate with the Florida Congressional Delegation to request the identified changes.

Information Sharing The Florida Congressional Delegation should evaluate federal laws to allow broader information sharing and public disclosure. School districts must ensure that each school accurately reports all School Environmental Safety Incident Report incidents and that under-reporting is eliminated.

Every Florida county should be required to have a major incident unified command internal control agreement that establishes protocols for a unified command structure. The BSO should revise its active assailant policy to make it clear that deputies are expected to immediately seek out an active assailant.

Reporting Suspicious Behavior

Fire Dept/Ems RESPONSE In order to deal with self deployment, each county should have established agreements governing self deployment and establishing response protocols to avoid inappropriate deployments. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to train with fire/EMS agencies on a regular basis. These fire and EMS providers must be part of the unified command at any mass casualty incident.

Reporting by Mental Health Providers Concerning school-based services, sharing information about one’s mental health should be mandated when it is a threat to school personnel or other students.

Schools should be required to notify students of the FortifyFL, an application that allows suspicious activity to be immediately reported electronically, so that they are educated about reporting concerning activity.

Schools should be required to share student mental health information with community-based providers in school Mental Health Services should be provided.

Every school district should implement a policy requiring its personnel to report all indicators of suspicious student behavior to an administrator; this report should then reach the threat assessment team, which must be reviewed at least by the school’s principal or a higher authority.

School mental health and counseling records should be included in each student’s school record

Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool The legislators should require that the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool be the primary instrument used by school districts to assess physical site security. Each site assessment should be required to be conducted with law enforcement, have specifically set priorities and explain what progress was made in implementing the previous year’s FSSAT findings.

Targeted case management for children and young adults should be provided for those who are high utilizers of mental health services and/or who have been identified as a potential threat in the school environment.

Threat Assessments The BCPS should determine if there is a district wide problem regarding how threat assessments are being conducted. A Threat Assessment Team should be implemented with specific members, requirements and training.

News • Commission Report 09


D

Hard Choices

MSD students experience active shooter drills and implementation of ‘hard corners’ arkened classrooms filled with mournful silence, students huddled in specific corners reliving raw trauma and a daunting suffocation, as participants reflect upon the tragedies that have led them to this seemingly endless moment time and time again. This is what a code red drill looks like, and it is only a glimpse–a mere reenactment–of the horrors the students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School know all too well. At MSD, such drills are of monthly practice– a routine reminder of what went wrong–as the campus rehearses the protocol of what to do in the case of a shooting, or another shooting, in the case of MSD. The strategy is simple: in the instance of an active shooter, a “code red” is to be initiated. Teachers are to stop teaching at once, ensure their doors are locked, block the “line of sight” of their classroom windows with a magnetic strip, shut off the lights, and direct their students to a designated “hard corner.” Students in the hallways, on the other hand, have only a few moments to seek shelter, for once doors are locked, they are not to be reopened. Like any essential curriculum, this practice has been reinforced in the minds of both MSD students, as well students of all ages across the state of Florida, since former Gov. Rick Scott’s signature on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, which was formulated only days after the shooting on Feb. 14, 2018 and mandated that code red drills be practiced as often as all other drills. Although the procedure, alongside terms such as “hard corner” and “line of sight,” are now key characteristics of the public education experience, they were born from the undeniable unpreparedness that is speculated to have cost the lives of many on Feb.14, for MSD had never carried out a formal code red drill prior to the shooting. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety commission was formed as a part of the aforementioned Public Safety Act. In an investigation of all the shortcomings that contributed to the casualties on Feb.14, the lack of code red training and physical hard corners were identified as key causes of students getting shot. According to the report, the shooter

definitely have all the knowledge I would need to stay safe.” Despite the supposed potency of hard corners, many MSD teachers assert that, based upon their firsthand experiences, hard corners and code red drills are not enough. “I don’t think hard corners are effective,” history of the holocaust teacher Ivy Schamis, who lost two students during the shooting, said. “If the students were all in what the school deemed as the ‘hard corner’ they wouldn’t have been safe… It was paper thin drywall. Had he shot the wall, we would have easily been killed or maimed.” When evaluating school safety measures, the construction of buildings serve as an imperative, yet often overlooked factor. The interior of building 12– and many newer buildings in the of a shooting. state of Florida–is composed of drywall, The commission report also found, as opposed to concrete. From a logistical however, that “the two classrooms with standpoint, the safety ensued by the hard identified hard corners were obstructed corners was mainly psychological, for the with unmovable objects that prevented shooter could have easily shot from any the denoted hard corners from being point. effective” and that “there were also “The kids were killed in my classroom multiple classrooms with obstructions by a big glass, non-bullet proof window in the hard corners, such as student and in the door,” Schamis said. “While I was teacher desks, bookshelves and audio/ crouching on the floor with my students, video equipment.” shaking from bullets flying through the For those reasons, it was found that classroom, I was watching. I was waiting some students were squeezed out of the for a hand to come in and unlock… he safer spaces. The vulnerability of their could have easily come in. Thank god he location, therefore, made them primary didn’t. So locking the door and hiding targets for the shooter’s bullets. in the corner, maybe it saved us, but I’ll Such shortcomings validate the emphasis on hard corner implementation never know… but the first thing I would have done [after the shooting] is make and code red drills–for they are simple, low-cost, preventative measures that have all the windows bulletproof. But what do they do? They put us in classrooms with been proven effective in certain cases. wider and longer windows. It’s stupid.” “[Hard corners] are the reason why It is of common design for classrooms my class was safe during the shooting. We to be constructed with metal doors knew where to go,” junior Sarah Soares said. “Some of the classes... were harder to containing long glass panels. Ever since these designs proved to be hazardous on hide and there was no safety aid kit. The Feb.14, there has been a widespread push kids who were then shot, bled a lot and for bullet-proof windows in classrooms. couldn’t have really been helped.” Since the shooting, hard corners have Yet, in light of all these protective measures the danger of ambush still been designated in classrooms all across remains. Broward County with bright blue icons Class size has proven to be yet another painted on the walls. At MSD, they are obstacle. Many public schools across the accompanied by bleeding control kits. county, including MSD, are staggeringly “Since the shooting at Douglas, we overpopulated. In this regard, hard have practiced them [code red drills]... corners are only effective for the fastest Each class room has a hard corner that students. is marked off,” Shriya Patel, senior at “It’s great to say that I have a space Deerfield Beach High School, said. “I don’t for 25 kids. But if you have 42 kids in your think you can ever know how you will room, you have children that are not act in a situation like that, but as of now going to fit in that space. So then how I feel that is something were to occur, I “only shot people within his line of sight, and he never entered any classroom. Some students were shot and killed in classrooms with obstructed and inaccessible hard corners as they remained in [the shooter’s] line of sight from outside the classroom.” In a careful survey of the 1200 building, where the shooting took place, it was found that only two out of 30 classrooms had “defined hard corners,” meaning that teachers had taken a personal initiative to create identifiable safe spaces in the case

School safety is layers and layers of protection. [Hard corners] is one of the policies the district is working on. People can’t just be focused on these corners and think ‘oh if I go to that space then I’m safe,’ it doesn’t work that way unfortunately.

10 News • Hard Corners

safe does that space actually become?” Statistics teacher Kimberly Krawczyk said. “I think the numbers become lower for casualties and injuries if there had been room to get everyone in properly into their corners and out of sight.” Now, as the 1200 building looms over the MSD campus, chained and fenced away as a crime scene for an impending trial, the teachers of the 1200 building have been moved to portables. They are taunted by a particular bitter irony: their new classrooms are surrounded by windows– with no hard corners. “For me, there’s no hard corners... Everyone’s situation is different. If they have a place to go, like a closet, that’s fine. I did not in the 1200 building and do not have one [now],” Schamis said. “When there is a code red drill we go under the tables… I brought an SRO [school resource officer] in my room to show me [what to do]… he said ‘good luck’.” While the inherent flaws of these


Design by Hannah Kapoor

protective measures are by no means a reason to prevent their implementation, they embody the very same fears manifested in the minds of MSD students and staff as they are tormented monthly through code red drills and told by outside sources that this is what will stop the next school shooting. “School safety is layers and layers of protection. [Hard corners] is one of the policies the district is working on,” Lori Alhadeff, mother of MSD victim Alyssa Alhadeff and recently elected Broward County School Board member, said. “People can’t just be focused on these corners and think ‘oh if I go to that space then I’m safe.’ It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately.” The strong emphasis on code red drills and hard corners has been partly due to their cogency, but also due to their feasibility. Such reforms, alongside changes in policy, procedure, and even job-titles, require little funding and

are therefore embraced more readily. However, their comparatively greater emphasis seen in schools does not make them the only, or even best, solution to the school shooting epidemic. “Knowing that [hard corners] isn’t the end all answer, we need teachers receiving situational training,” Alhadeff said. “Teachers should be able to instruct the students based on the situation. Maybe they need to evacuate, maybe they need to find shelter, maybe they need to fight for their life.” On Feb. 20, 2019, Broward County Public School Board formally adopted policies requiring hard corners throughout the district. Principals are to work with their school resource officers and/or outside safety experts to decide where each classroom’s hard corner will be located, as requested by the district’s new chief of safety. If one thing is clear, it is that mass shootings are indeed preventable,

but there is no wholesome protective approach. Through the example of MSD, America saw how a lack of preparedness could lead to the loss of innocent life. Through personal trauma, however, the MSD, Parkland and Coral Springs community saw how safety is often an illusion within itself. A year has passed, but that realization is all the same. In the meantime, schools across America will pause their explorations of English, history, and science and prepare for the next mass shooting. At MSD, an audio recording will be played, instructing students to focus on their breathing, reminding them that this time it is only just a drill. When it is all over, the lights will be switched back on and they will be informed that the school therapists and counselors are waiting for them if need be, as they all stand ready for what society has accepted as the inevitable. Story by Hannah Kapoor; additional reporting by Elama Ali and Nadia Murillo

Cornered. After Winter Break, symbols designating ‘hard corners’ or “safer spaces’ were spray painted in every classroom, except the portables, which are on lease. Symbols were changed from blue to red after stakeholder input. Photos by Nyan Clarke

News • Hard Corners

11


Arm Teacher with Books Not Bullets Arming teachers would only exacerbate the issue of gun violence

Arms for Hugging. Students protest gun violence at March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. on March 24, 2018.

E

ver since the firearm legislation debate began to pick up more media attention in response to the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, various policies from every side of the aisle have been proposed in an attempt to try and prevent potential gun violence. While many of these proposed policies have been posed as a means to end gun violence in general, one policy, arming teachers, has been at the forefront of the political debate surrounding the discussion of preventing school shootings specifically. While some might see merit in this idea, it seems to be clear that this is a policy that will be detrimental to the overall safety conditions within the educational environment. The general problem with this stance is that the liability on the part of a teacher is simply too great. When one thinks of the risks taken by arming teachers, it is clear that this is not a risk schools should take. In essence, those who support arming teachers are effectively saying that they are okay with expecting a teacher with the ability to end lives in a hectic and stressful situation; that they expect a teacher with properly storing, securing and maintaining control of a dangerous weapon; and that they expect a teacher to be skilled enough when using the weapon to not accidentally harm students within their environment. Even Senator Marco Rubio, a moderate Republican, and a heavily NRA backed one at that, doesn’t support the policy, stating that there are “practical problems” with the idea, and has explained in a stressful situation, it might be unclear to law enforcement as to whether or not the teacher with the weapon is a potential threat. The National Education Association is the largest teacher union in the country and reports that 82 percent of its teachers do not support the proposals to arm teachers. Students are also of about the idea. The Washington Post conducted

Photo by Emma Dowd

a survey where 68 percent of teenagers reported being against idea the arming of teachers. When it comes to ensuring the safety of students, risk is something that should not be taken, unless that risk is absolutely necessary, and arming teachers is in no way necessary, in fact, the idea seems to work counter to the safety of students. Multiple unanswered questions and problems arise when it comes to the consideration of this potential policy: Where and how would the weapon be stored? Would these teachers need to trained? If so, how do we expect to pay for that? The various contingencies presented seem to illustrate the convoluted nature of a policy like this. Everyone wants to make schools safer. As a society, it should be our goal to design

the educational environment in ways that are the most conducive to learning. At the same time, we should also try to ensure our schools are safe. Rather than rolling the die on the safety of students during school, it seems clear that there are more effective means of helping to ensure the safety of students in and out of school. The phrase “A good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun,” seems to be skipping a few steps on its way to confrontation; What if the bad guy didn’t have a gun in the first place? Policies that are preventative rather than reactive, will be doubtlessly more effective in regards to ensuring the safety of students. Recently, the Florida State Senate Education Committee approved a bill with a 5-3 vote, which, if passed, would allow for teachers to carry concealed weapons on

Teachers say...

73+T 58+T 18+T 73%

58%

18%

of educators oppose teachers and staff in schools carrying guns

of teachers say carrying guns in schools would make schools less safe

of teachers would be willing to carry weapons on campus

20% 800 80% 200+ 12 Editorial • Arming Teachers

Majority of teachers would opt-out of carrying a concealed weapon on school campuses

WHY ARMING TEACHERS DOESN’T SOLVE GUN VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS

Armed teachers have low accuracy rates, accounting for stray bullets that could harm innocent students

campus. We implore the state legislature to take our experience into account, and to see the obvious dangers, complications and confusion that likely will arise if this policy is implemented. When legislating in regards to firearms, we should keep the safety of every individual in mind. Gambling with the lives of students is the opposite of productive in this sense; rather, we should try and prevent incidents from happening, instead of potentially making them worse. In order to do this, our government should fund mental health initiatives within schools and trained school resource officers–worthwhile programs to place taxpayer money into, rather than a plan to arm teachers that will do more harm than good. Editorial by The Eagle Eye Editorial Board

Keeping guns in classrooms poses new safety threats, specifically for minority students

Even professionally trained police officers hit their intended target less than 20 percent of the time, meaning that they miss over 80 percent of the time

MSD Teachers say...

89+T 11+T Based on a poll of 75 MSD teachers

89%

of teachers at MSD are against being armed

11%

of teachers at MSD see the positives of being armed

Sources: Gallup News and Brookings Institute


Design by Dara Rosen

watching over our Schools The Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program allows certified employees to carry concealed firearms on school campuses

about going to school and whether they’re gonna go home that night or not,” Coley said in an interview with NBC Miami. A county sheriff is not required to establish this program though, nor is it required for a school district to participate in it, even if it is available Photo courtesy of Sean Simpson within their county. There are currently 25 school districts in Florida that have implemented the program within their schools for the 2018-2019 school year. The districts that are not participating in the guardian program are still required by state law to employ at least one armed police officer in their schools. Initially in April 2018, the Broward County School Board decided they preferred placing only police officers as a source of protection in their schools, voting not to participate in the guardian program. A district press release stated, “Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) preference is to retain and expand the current School Resource Officer (SRO) program as part of the district’s overall safety and security efforts.” Soon after, though, Broward County reversed their decision, deciding that it was more cost efficient to employ guardians, who are paid between $25,000 to $33,000, instead of police officers, who cost the district $46,200 each. This change was made in order to provide armed protection for the 55 BCPS schools without an SRO and comply with state law. And so, Broward County acknowledged the need for, and ultimately that are held under the jurisdictions of 132 hours as enough time to properly decided to participate in the guardian campus law enforcement. equip guardians to take on the duties and program. Teachers that work in classrooms are responsibilities that come with handling Elementary schools are those more prevented from participating. However, a firearm. likely to utilize the guardian program, there is an exception to this rule: if a “I feel like it would be effective in especially in Broward County, because teacher is a part of a Junior Reserve protecting schools because we would SROs are already present in most middle Officers’ Training Corps program, or was have more people to protect the school. and high schools. previously or currently serving in the Even if they have 132 hours, that’s still a A total of $67 million in the Florida state education budget is dedicated to help districts fund the expenses associated with the guardian program, such as training equipment, tests that regard a volunteers eligibility for participation, firearms and additional equipment, uniforms, salaries, and benefits of employees. Only 9.3 million has been utilized by the districts participating in the program. On Aug. 27, 2018, former Governor Rick military or law enforcement, he or she is significant amount of time to learn how Scott, requested the excess $58 million be permitted to volunteer for the program. to use a firearm,” Hart said. “They have reallocated so districts could hire more Ever since the bill was passed, many to make sure they run through a lot of police officers instead. However, the have debated whether allowing this kind background checks and all that and make Florida legislature rejected his proposal of concealed weaponry in schools will sure that they’re perfectly fine.” and the money remains with the guardian protect students and faculty, or damage Many of those participating in the program. them instead. guardian program are doing so because As this is the first year of utilizing the “I’m against it because I feel like if you they feel a moral responsibility to protect program in schools, those involved will do want to protect the school or people their school community. continue to gain insight into how it is you should enter the law enforcement Influenced by the tragedy at MSD, implemented within schools and whether instead of volunteering,” senior Victoria Daniel Coley began working as a guardian or not there are changes to be made. Miranda said. “If you want to volunteer at an elementary school in August to use Regardless, just as Feis dedicated his you could do other ways that help not his background in the coast guard in order career towards to the students of MSD, necessarily implementing that kind of to prevent harm to students and staff. guardians will continue to follow his action.” “It was something that I was more than example by protecting the students and Senior Trevor Hart has had his own willing to do in light of what happened, I staff of their own assigned schools. Story experience using a firearm, and perceives mean children should never have to worry by Anna Dittman For Feis. Coach Aaron Feis watches a Varsity football team game from the sidelines. The guardian program was named after Feis, who died after rushing to aide students and teachers as a shooting unfolded on Feb. 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

A

aron Feis was not only a football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but an alumnus as well. MSD was his home, and the staff here were his friends. He cared about the students and always looked out for them. The safety of the school, and the students within its walls, was one of his main priorities. The effectiveness of school safety policies in Broward County and the state of Florida were called into question after the shooting at MSD on Feb. 14, 2018. To address these concerns, the Florida Senate drafted the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, which was signed into law on March 9, 2018. A portion of the law created the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, which allows school employees to volunteer to carry a concealed firearm on campus during school hours. It is named after Feis, who lost his life while protecting others at MSD on Feb. 14, 2018. Not just anyone can become a guardian. According to the public safety act, “a guardian must complete 132 hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training, pass a psychological evaluation, submit to and pass drug tests, and complete certified diversity training.” The role of a guardian is to protect the campus by preventing or holding off any intruder attacking or posing a threat. This is the only role they are assigned to perform, as they cannot take measures

It was something that I was more than willing to do in light of what happened, I mean children should never have to worry about going to school and whether they’re gonna go home that night or not.

Feature • Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program 13


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Terror on TV S

chool shootings are a frequently depicted topic on television, often dramatizing the terror and hardships students and faculty face during a real shooting. While these episodes seem more plentiful now than ever, due to the increased rates of actual school shootings, violence on campus has been ingrained in popular culture for decades. Since the shooting at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, mass shooting-themed works have surged in the media, regularly bringing awareness to the severity of such events. “Glee,” “American Horror Story,” “Degrassi,” “13 Reasons Why,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Fosters” and “One Tree Hill” are just a few shows that have portrayed mass shootings in their plots. Most of them follow a bullied or mentally ill student, with plans of revenge on their peers. Oftentimes, viewers see their plans unfold, with the student killing others with a gun. Not only do these shows extract strong emotions of fear and sympathy from viewers, many also highlight the importance of mental health awareness, gun reform and school safety, in attempts to reduce the baffling numbers of mass shootings the U.S. faces each year. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 340 mass shootings occurred in the U.S. in 2018. Education Week, a news organization covering K-12 education and investigative stories, published an article in August 2018 entitled “The Pop Culture Fascination with School Shootings.” According to the article, “Some creators say that by addressing the violence of school shooting incidents, fictional works not only reflect the culture, but they also help society cope and make sense of what has happened.” “The major motivation is that people who are creating drama in popular media such as television, film, and the novel are striving to reflect the culture we live in,” Robert J. Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications said to Education Week. “These are an attempt to create stories about who we are.” Jim Shepard is the author of a novel called Project X, which was published in 2004. The novel is about two middle school students, who are seen as outcasts and plot to shoot up their school. Shepard explained in an Aug. 2018 interview with Education Week that our nation’s

Design by Zoe Gordon

Television depictions of mass shootings can have harmful effects

No Notoriety Campaign have arisen to reduce the attention a shooter gains, while instead elevating the names and legacies of the victims. The campaign’s slogan, “No name. No photo. No notoriety,” claims that if the news enacts these reforms, then they can prevent the occurrence of future tragedies. Without potentially dangerous individuals longing for the recognition that they see murderers getting on television, the supporters of the No Notoriety Campaign believe that individuals are less likely to want to commit a mass shooting. Another element of the media that receives criticism is the fact that news outlets only shows a portion of a community’s story. Students at MSD have witnessed this upsetting reality, realizing that just a few weeks after the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting, the press drifted away with their microphones and cameras. “Like how the characters in TV shows go through a school shooting and tend to just move on with their lives in the next episode, the same does not go for students and teachers that face one in reality,” junior Alexandra Rozenblat said. “The sad reality that TV doesn’t depict is the burden that is left for months and years. TV shows and news channels do not show the things like the anxiety and trauma that we face.” through media coverage or binge-worthy send messages to your loved ones saying Because news channels often jump television, we normalize them and we talk goodbye.” on crime-related stories, many viewers about them,” Joshua A. Krisch, a health However, while many students can who have not faced the reality of a mass and science writer for Fatherly said in an deeply relate to the worry experienced article that he published on May 23, 2018. shooting become numb to the situation, by characters in these shows, some feel according to Time and the Washington “And the more we talk about them, the that the media inaccurately represents Post. This is why some propose the more they happen. School shootings are mass shootings, by romanticizing them. necessity for the media to follow a contagious.” For instance, when writers provide an community after an incident of massacre, Science supports this argument–that entire back story for a shooter, they create focusing on how victims are coping and empathy for that character. Some viewers the presence of shootings in our popular culture helps to accelerate its occurrence. healing, rather than fleeing the scene may be inspired to perpetrate a similar immediately after the initial trauma is According to a 2015 analysis published massacre if they feel they relate to that over. in Plos One, an open access journal that character or envy them. “Media could depict mass shootings presents research studies, data reveals Take “American Horror Story,” for better by showing how people recover,” an increase in the potential of another example. After producers spent half of a massacre for a period of two weeks after a Rozenblat said. “Another way that they season elaborating on the back story of can show a shooting in a more positive mass violence incident. Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) and building light could be to teach the public about The Pacific Standard, a magazine up his love interest with Violet Harmon mass shootings and how to take actions to (Taissa Farmiga), it shocked viewers when reporting on environmental and social prevent them.” he caused the death of 15 students, in the issues, defends this “media contagion Although the media brings needed effect,” a phrase backed by researchers episode entitled “Piggy Piggy.” Jennifer Johnston and Andrew Joy, writing, awareness to the severity of mass “The problem with a lot of school shootings, it is important for viewers to “[Shooters] fixate on mass shootings as a shootings in media is that there has to be understand that these events are a reality way to ‘regain social capital’ through the a story, there has to be theatrics,” senior that need to be addressed. These shootings fame they know the media will bestow Ariana Lopez said. “Because it’s a show, upon them with non-stop coverage of their are not just a topic discussed on television, they have to elaborate and give [Tate] they happen to anyone, anywhere and it crimes.” a back story, since it’s not entertaining is essential that we give them the holistic Since the media is often criticized enough to just have a shooter just be a attention they demand. Story by Zoe for covering a shooter more than the guy who’s a terrible person, and that’s actual victims, movements such as the just our toxic culture. It’s boys who are Gordon; graphic by Nyan Clarke fascination with mass shootings likely arose from viewers having little knowledge of the experience of actually going through one. He said that popular culture mediums often portray mass shootingthemed material to show that they “are more universal than young people think.” However, students at MSD who had to live through a school shooting, have varying opinions on whether television accurately depicts what a mass shooting is like. “I think the ‘Glee’ episode, in the sense of the fear it captures in the moment and like how everything was going normal before, depicted [a shooting] pretty well,” junior Sophia Cichetti said. “This particular episode raises awareness because it emphasizes that it’s not something you want to be in. It’s where you are fearing for your life to the point where you have to

allowed to do these things and because of that, they’re just sad, heartbroken little boys. I think that this would actually cause someone else to do this crime, because these people romanticize and idealize things that these people do by making it seem as if what they’re doing is something that will make you an idol, which is more damaging than anything.” Another common critique in portraying mass shootings in the media, is that it often leads to more of them, creating a never-ending cycle of shooting after shooting. This may be due to the level of coverage the media will give a shooter across all of its platforms. After watching the news and viewing television shows, a person might wish for the same recognition gained from a criminal who committed a shooting. “When we publicize school shootings,

The sad reality that TV doesn’t depict is the burden that is left for months and years. TV shows and news channels do not show the things like the anxiety and trauma that we face.

Arts & Leisure • Media Depiction of School Shootings 15


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The Freshman Experience

MSD freshmen describe the positives and negatives of their first year of high school

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his school year, a new wave of freshman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. High school is a major change from middle school in terms of classes, workload and population. It is normal for freshman students to feel nervous or anxious, as they often find themselves daunted by a new setting. However, the transition to high school opens the door to freedom as students are exposed to new experiences and the chance at self-discovery. “I like that there is a lot of independence, and that I get to see all my friends every day,” freshman Sofia Rothenberg said. The wide variety of electives, clubs and sports allow students to explore their passions, while simultaneously working under the pressure of maintaining grades. High school gives students an inside look on how to continue on the path of success in the real world. “I love how involved everyone is at school,” freshman Camila Escobar said. “I see people constantly stay after school for sports and club meetings. It just feels like one big family.” The transition to high school has

always been filled with anxiety and doubts. However, this year has brought a new meaning to the usual “freshman experience.” Regular nerves have been heightened for some students, who were unsure of what to expect upon entering the school after the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting. “I think that going into freshman year at Douglas was harder than going

above them. The boundary between what questions can be asked or what comfort can be given is shaky at best. “I do my best to be there for them and know what I can and cannot say,” Escobar said. “Sometimes I find it difficult because I don’t know exactly what they and everyone at the school are going through, but I just have to adjust and be

security staff has 12 campus monitors, three security officers and four school resource specialist provided by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. “There are a lot of security guards around the school, which helps to create a safer environment and feel,” freshman Isabel White said. However, the adjustment to the new environment of MSD has not been too challenging for some. Some feel the atmosphere around campus is generally more supportive, which helps alleviate anxiety and tension with each day at school. “What I like about Douglas is how the teachers make you feel welcome, and empathetic.” they really support you and want you to This school year has also been troubled succeed,” freshman Addie Block said. with media presence and technological A “normal” school year at MSD is difficulties regarding alarms and monthly difficult to achieve through all of the drills that alter the high school experience chaos, with both internal and external for some individuals. obstacles varying for each student. “Sometimes it feels like the school isn’t Unfortunately, this year may be the most truly safe,” freshman Zack Stevens said. altering and emotional one for the class of Other students are more at ease with 2022, but with the support of friends and the implementation of greater safety teachers, as well as active safety measures, measures, such as practicing code red the endeavor into high school at MSD can drills and increasing the amount of police hopefully be riddled with cherishable and security presence on campus. The memories. Story by Jenna Harris

I think that going into freshman year at Douglas was harder than going into freshman year at other schools.

into freshman year at other schools,” Rothenberg said. That day has brought MSD students together with an unbreakable bond of grief, love and hope for a better future. This is an experience that the freshmen were not a part of, which has left some students feeling like outsiders and unsure of how they would be treated this year. Not being able to understand what every person at MSD has gone through and experienced has also affected the way freshmen interact with the grades

Features • Freshmen Experience 17


Sandy Hook Elementary and Columbine High School survivors share advice on healing and dealing with anniversaries

Sending Support

Abbey Clements

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ormer Sandy Hook Elementary teacher Abbey Clements did not recognize herself or her feelings after the shooting at her school occurred. Instead, she felt numb and did not know what to do with herself. “I couldn’t eat for days and felt like I was in a different body,” Clements said. “Like it wasn’t me, and it was as if there was suddenly an old me and a new one.” Clements coped with her feelings

Photo courtesy of Abbey Clements

my life.” Just like other gun violence survivors, Clements has used political activism to fight for justice for her school. Speaking and attending rallies and marches, Clements uses her experience as an elementary school teacher to influence and motivate members of the audience. “Several months after the tragedy, I was invited to a Moms Demand Action meeting,” Clements said. “I went by

You find things that make you happy, honor what happened, allow yourself to feel the grief, and find healthy, meaningful ways to move forward.

all that you’ve been through,” Clements said. “We should have fixed this epidemic of gun violence a long time ago and we failed to do so. Getting through the first myself, told my story and never looked by becoming a support system for the year mark is a huge hurdle. So, exhale for back. For me, moving forward means students that she taught. Being there for a moment that at least that’s passed, you doing my best as a teacher and working her second grade students made both did it–not an easy thing. And now you just toward a country safer from gun violence.” do the best you can. You find things that them and her feel better. Specifically, Clements believes that “At first, everything was different,” make you happy, honor what happened, Clements said. “All of my energy was spent taking every day one day at a time is allow yourself to feel the grief, and the best way to deal with something so on taking care of my students and my find healthy, meaningful ways to move own children. Those early months were so traumatic. forward. It’s a clunky path, but you’re “First, I would say how sorry I am for taxing and hard. I never cried so much in doing it! Oh, and connect with others

Jenny Wadhwa

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urrently a senior in Newtown, Connecticut, Jenny Wadhwa was in middle school when the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary occurred. Because she experienced the trauma at such a young age, Wadhwa has taken several years to fully understanding what had happened. “For me, I would say I felt more numb at first. I was so young when it happened that I didn’t know what I felt,” Wadhwa said. “It’s strange because sometimes you’re totally fine, but then others it feels like you can’t breathe. Now that I’m older and a substantial amount of time has passed, I’ve just began to realize how much it has and will continue to affect my life. There’s never a day that goes by where I don’t think about our angels, and honestly, I think it will be like this for the rest of my life.” On a personal level, Wadhwa has changed the way that she lives her life. Motivated by her experiences living in Newtown, Wadhwa has found an urge to try to fix the pain witnessed by her

Photo courtesy of Jenny Wadhwa

18 Feature • Advice from Sandy Hook & Columbine

community. “I don’t even think I could recognize the person I was,” Wadhwa said. “Since the tragedy, I have become an EMT, so I can literally save lives; a board member of the

who’ve been through this kind of thing. This is a very important part of my life now. #SurvivorStrong.” Ultimately, coping with trauma takes many shapes and forms. All people deal with it differently, and finding the way that works best is important to ensure that people can continue with their lives while remembering their experiences. From the transformation of negative feelings to motivation for change, finding oneself is most important for healing. Story by Brianna Fisher

draws near. However, Wadhwa finds the best way to deal with her emotions is through self care and cleanliness. “There’s always the feeling that you could be doing more and this does eat you

Anniversaries are about remembrance... you need a day to physically feel the loss, the loss of life of those you loved and the loss of the life you lived before. Junior Newtown Action Alliance to fight politically; a cheer coach, so I can connect with the young kids in my town; and a researcher at Yale studying the origins of violence in teens with bipolar disorder.” Comparatively, Wadhwa has used her motivation for helping others to cope with the feelings of each anniversary. As a board member of the Newton Action Alliance, Wadhwa uses political activism to bury herself in work as each anniversary

up,” Wadhwa said. “Activism is rewarding, there’s no doubt, but it’s so easy to lose sight of why you’re doing what you are. Anniversaries are about remembrance, not redemption. I believe that there’s a time for being angry and a time for being sad. You can be angry for 364 days, but those feelings eat you up, you need a day to physically feel the loss, the loss of life of those you loved and the loss of the life you lived before.” Story by Brianna Fisher


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Paula Reed

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ormer Columbine High School teacher Paula Reed has needed some time to cope with and understand what happened at her school. While Reed will never return to her normal self before the shooting, she has learned to live with who she has become. “I don’t think it has changed the way I live hugely; it hasn’t completely curtailed my life,” Reed said. “I know where exits are now when I walk into a building, which I didn’t notice before, and make plans in my head if something were to happen. These acts are not accompanied by anxiety, but I do so just because it seems smart. I have realized now that I am not safe anywhere, but I’m exactly as safe as I was before April 20, 1999, so I should keep living my life like that.” As a way to deal with her feelings, Reed has used public speaking to spread awareness about what happened at her school. Engaging in both political and personal topics, Reed is able to share ways

only super close friends, so that I am not scheduling any social outings,” Reed said. “I never know what I’m going to be like, sometimes it’s super easy, but sometimes it’s super hard. I go through closets and drawers and give things I don’t use to charity, like metaphorically getting rid of baggage.” Particularly, Reed finds the best way to deal with a whirlwind of emotions is by taking a step back and giving herself time to heal. It Instead of doing their job, they add one takes time to fully come to terms with an more thing teachers can do. It takes event as traumatic as a shooting, and it is unbelievable gull to ask me to love and nature students, but be willing to kill them okay to not always be fine. “Be patient with yourself. There at the same time.” is no timeline for healing. If you are Another way that Reed copes with living through multiple anniversaries is by in unbearable pain or thinking self making sure that she is taking care of her destructive thoughts, get help. And the sooner the better. When reminders pop up mental health. This act, while difficult to some, plays a significant role in a person’s and occasional anxiety attacks happen, it is ability to feel better when trauma strikes. perfectly natural to have some emotional response. Be patient. And be kind to “I have a ritual for sure. I definitely yourself.” Story by Brianna Fisher spend time with family and friends, but in which a person and the community can change for the better. “I have spoken in a number of venues about arming teachers, which I think would be a huge mistake,” Reed said.“I think the lawmakers cop out once again.

Be patient with yourself. There is no timeline for healing... when reminders pop up and occasional anxiety attacks happen, it is perfectly natural to have some emotional response. Be patient. And be kind to yourself.

Photo courtesy of Paula Reed

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Jami Amo

ormer Columbine High School student Jami Amo needed some time to fully come to terms with what had happened in her community. Through the help of friends and family, Amo was able to find the help she needed to alleviate her pain. “I was in a state of shock for weeks it seemed like,” Amo said. “It took a few months to set in that this would continue to be a big deal for a long time. But it wasn’t until several years later that I really understood I’d been permanently changed by this trauma.” For Amo, a big part of coming to terms with the traumatic events of the shooting, was facing what had happened head on. Instead of trying to conceal the pain, it is important to embrace the fact that everything does not have to be controlled and perfect. “In the short term, back in the early 2000s, I did everything I could to avoid facing the reality of the pain I was feeling,” Amo said. “If I was so lucky to run out of that building, why didn’t I feel lucky? I felt doomed, and I tried to escape it. In the long term, I realized that I’d have to face all of this, the reality I’d been running from. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, and I actually got a lot of validation from knowing that my response was normal. It was the circumstance that was abnormal, not me.” Additionally, Amo has found that joining support groups has helped her heal and deal with the pain that she has felt. By talking to people with similar experiences and feelings, Amo is able to relate to others in a way that has given her the opportunity to cope with what

happened. “I went through the rest of high school trying to have a normal teenage life,” Amo said. “For several years I participated in a group called The Rebels Project on Facebook, and it’s a private group for mass shooting survivors. When the organization was formed, after the theater shooting in Aurora, it seemed kind of natural to be a part of it. I liked the private nature and the comfort of knowing that everyone in the group can relate, even if our situations are different.” Coupled with reaching out to friends and family, Amo has turned to political activism to help turn her pain into a positive force. By volunteering with multiple gun reform groups, Amo has been able to fight for change across the nation. “On February 14, 2018, the 18th anniversary of my two friends’ death by shooting, news broke about the shooting

Photo courtesy of Jami Amo

be honest,” Amo said. Essentially, Amo advices others to embrace the negatives and create something positive from the experience. This allows victims a chance to recover without damaging their mental and physical health. “The first year is the hardest in some ways, all of those holidays and birthdays and school events that feel hollow with the emptiness of loss,” Amo said. “But it also helps you establish your new path, gives you time to process how this trauma has affected you, and gives the opportunity to consider what to do with violence.” Amo believes in reaching out to those this weight. This experience becomes part of you, but it doesn’t have to define that have the ability to help. For her, finding a psychologist was one of the best you. Everyone has an opportunity to define this experience for themselves ways to cope with the shooting. “Talking with friends, family and other in the coming years, and into adulthood trusted people is a good place to start, and and may influence your path for studies and careers. Don’t let someone else’s there is no shame whatsoever in seeking description of you become your identity. professional help with issues that bother you. I wish I had started therapy sooner, to We are survivors, yes, but we are much more.” Story by Brianna Fisher with a good number of legislators both in Pennsylvania and in Washington, D.C., and I am committed to pursuing both gun violence prevention and dedicating resources to victims and survivors of gun

There is no shame whatsoever in seeking professional help with issues that bother you. I wish I had started therapy sooner, to be honest.

at your school [MSD],” Amo said. “I saw this cycle about to repeat again, but it didn’t. The survivors from Parkland demanded action, and I realized that this had to be it. I immediately volunteered with Everytown Survivor Network and Moms Demand Action. I offered to help with and was chosen to speak at the March for Our Lives in Philadelphia. I’ve established relationships in the last year

Feature • Advice from Sandy Hook & Columbine 19


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IN SERVICE

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In Service • Opening 21


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Labor of

MSD senior and teacher join forces to create memorial garden

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or over 28 years, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students have come and gone, calling MSD their home. Yet, now when many students feel the weight of trauma, guilt and grief as soon as they walk on campus, it may be difficult for them to call their school their home–to feel like it is anything but the site of a tragedy. Many students feel the need for a place on campus to reflect, to ponder and to grieve for years to come. AP Psychology teacher Ronit Reoven and senior Victoria Gonzalez felt this deeply and decided to take initiative. The pair were compelled to change the scenery and create a safe place, now known as “Project Grow Love.” This growing public memorial allows the MSD community to find peace and memorialize those who were lost on Feb. 14, 2018. “It started Christmas Eve. Mrs. Reoven

LOve

had the idea just to put any type of flower,” Gonzalez said. “First, she wanted to put a Poinsettia because of a holiday season, but we decided to plant silk flowers instead so they would last longer. So we put three bunches down on the

where students can go to reflect. This includes Marjory’s Garden, Project Grow Love and a sitting area located outside of the gym. But no permanent memorials will be created until the 1200 building is removed, which will not occur for several

I think it helps people heal. It’s showing a place for people to come to pay their respects,but also remembrance to honor the lives that were lost... to show growth, renewal, bloom.

ground, and then the day after Christmas came, and I said, ‘why don’t we just dig into the ground and put these plants in? It’s not like anyone is going to rip them out.’ I then posted to my Twitter, inviting the whole community to come out and join us, and then the garden appeared.” Currently, the school has three areas

22 In Service • Project Grow Love

years. “Many people and organizations have ideas for memorials; we are just not ready for that step just yet,” Principal Ty Thompson said. The name, Project Grow Love, coined by Gonzalez, was created to encompass the growth that students can experience

while working on the garden and showing love. Through the garden, both Reoven and Gonzalez hope that it will become a therapeutic process for visitors. “I think it helps people heal. It’s showing a place for people to come to pay their respects, but also remembrance to honor the lives that were lost,” Reoven said. “To have some beauty come out of a tragedy, to show growth, renewal, bloom, I thinkPower it’s a combination. Even though Flower it’s an intersection, and there tends to be some traffic there, it happens to be a peaceful area. When you get out of your car and walk up to it, you are almost in another place. You feel a sense of peace.” Since Gonzalez’s tweet, the MSD community has come together to create a place where people can go to relax, mourn and reflect. “I love the project. It is an appropriate space for the community to be able to visit and reflect; since the public does


Dynamic Duo

Flower Power

Healing Stones

#Enough Dynamic Duo. AP Psychology teacher Ronit Reoven and senior Tori Gonzalez pose for a picture in front of Project Grow Love. Photo

courtesy of Ronit Reoven

Flower Power. Project Grow Love remains open for community members to plant flowers and leave garden related items. Photo by

Nyan Clarke

Healing Stones. Community members paint rocks with messages of hope, love and remembrance for Project Grow Love. Photo by Nyan Clarke #Enough. Wooden artwork was added to Project Grow Love on Jan. 16, 2019. Photo by Nyan Clarke

not have access to campus, so I am very thankful for this project,” Thompson said. “I want to thank Mrs. Reoven and Victoria for spearheading this project and to all the students who have contributed and maintain this beautiful space.” Various items have been donated to the garden, including painted rocks, butterflies painted with the 17 victims’ names, a tribute pole, 17 light up angels, a bird bath and a bench for visitors to sit. Everyday, flowers are being added as well. “I planted purple flowers because purple makes me happy,” junior Noa Golan said. “I wanted to be a part of the amazing project because it means growth and happiness to me. This garden is a symbol that even from something dark and cruel beautiful things can bloom and grow.” In addition, a new sign was added to replace the old and severed one. This was organized by parents within the community and Rich Walker, a Parkland

supplies and such to keep it going.” Though there is not much room to expand and plant flowers, both Reoven and Gonzalez emphasize the importance of helping maintain the garden. The hope for next year is to work with the students maintaining Marjory’s Garden, as their sponsor, Astronomy teacher Brandon Jeter, has been helping with Project Grow Love. “The whole community has been coming out to help, and I have no doubt that they will maintain it after I graduate,” Gonzalez said. “This garden isn’t just for our school, it’s for the community.” Their one request for the community up and there was a new surprise, and it’s contributions from people in community is for people to bring special stones, and business owners,” Reoven said. a mystery as to who brought it, but it’s a garden items, pull weeds out of the “So up to this point, it has truly been a good thing. It’s great.” grounds and replace dying flowers with However, in order to maintain Project community effort, but there’s only so new and fresh ones. They hope that much you can expect to get for free and Grow Love, Reoven and Gonzalez need now we are at a point where the garden is people will put in their own labor of love. funds to buy supplies. As a solution, Story by Leni Steinhardt; photo by Nyan blooming and beautiful and to have that Gonzalez designed a t-shirt, which is Clarke purple and has a flower blossoming out of continue, we needed funds to purchase City Commissioner who had a connection with The Bergen Sign Company, who installed it. “Every other day there will be something else new there,” Reoven said. “So every other day, you know, we’d show

a heart molded by hands over the words, “Project Grow Love.” Students and staff can purchase the t-shirt for $5 in Reoven’s portable, C3. “Everything that has gotten Project Grow Love started are donations and

Every other day there will be something else new there... we’d show up and there was a new surprise, and it’s a mystery as to who brought it, but it’s a good thing.

In Service • Project Grow Love 23


A Day of Service

Mind over Matter

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n the “Day of Service and Love,” AP World History teacher Diane WolkRogers led a mind, body, medicine Workshop for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students. The participants were taught how the mind and body can work together to deal with stress by developing relaxation skills. These skills would be used to reduce stress by helping to shut down the lower limbic, or as Wolk-Rogers calls it “the reptile” part of the brain. By engaging the thinking and reasoning part of the brain, it allows for concentration and relaxation. “Whenever I feel super stressed or even just anxious for a test, I can just do any of the techniques,” sophomore Caroline Curtis said. “It helps me stay calm and focused rather than having my mind run everywhere.” A total of 45 students attended the four hour skill development workshop. “I feel like I’ve been having a lot of trouble focusing in school sometimes, so I just wanted to find a way to handle it; find ways to relax,” sophomore Ben Galper said. Throughout the workshop, students were taught techniques such as soft belly breathing and how to shake and dance the tension off oneself. Imagery techniques

were used to help students find their “happy place” or at least a safe and quiet space to go to in times of distress. When someone visualizes a calming place, it creates the same biological effect as if it actually being there. “I went through the program last year and really enjoyed it, and so I thought since I went through it, I’d be able to share what I learned with the students that are here,” Donna Levy said. These techniques have helped students and faculty alike develop coping mechanisms to use in their day-to-day lives. “I’d been using these mind body skills in my classroom, and I see such positive reactions from my students,” Wolk-Rogers said. “Since this is a day of service and love, I want to teach it to more kids so they can go out to teach it to other kids.” After going to advanced training at The Center of Mind Body Medicine in Washington, D.C., over the summer, WolkRogers wanted to bring the program to MSD. Wolk-Rogers feels that mind body medicine helped her to function and cope with returning to MSD to teach this year. Wolk-Rogers hopes to continue helping students through MSD’s newly established

Students and faculty learn trauma coping skills at mind, body, medicine workshop

Express Yourself. Students alleviated their stress in the mind, body, medicine workshop on Feb. 14, 2019, through expressive drawing. Photo by Einav Cohen Artsy. Students learned creative techniques to cope with stress at the mind, body, medicine workshop on Feb 14, 2019. Photo by Einav Cohen

Mind, Body, Medicine Club and through future workshops for students and faculty. The Mind, Body, Medicine Club meets every Wednesday in room 428. Story by Kaleela Rosenthal and Farrah Nickerson

One Meal at a Time

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Students and faculty package 77,000 meals to be sent around the world

n Feb. 14, 2019, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School offered students a chance to give back to the community through “A Day of Service and Love.” Feed My Starving Children, organized by Global Impact, a Minnesotabased, Christian, non-profit organization, was one of the many projects that took place that day on campus. Headed by Andy Carr, Vice President of Marketing and Development, Feed My Starving Children aims to provide scientifically formulated meals for thousands of malnourished children across the world. “Feed Our Starving Children empathizes with what occurred here

tragically at Stoneman Douglas. And so whenever there is a loss of life, we’re disheartened; we’re saddened by that,” Carr said. “But we know that what we can offer is hope. We can offer hope to this community, to come together in a way that makes a difference, that helps people feel energized.” Around 100 students gathered in the gym to assemble meals using the raw ingredients and packing materials provided by Global Impact. Packing stations including vitamins, vegetables, soy and rice were established within groups of volunteers who were tasked with scooping the ingredients into bags. Other teams were in charge of

weighing those bags in order to make sure they contained enough for at least six meals. Finally, those bags were sealed, boxed and placed on a palette. “I felt good, I was giving back to the community,” senior Megan Chou said. “The general atmosphere was very friendly.” Each box contains 36 bags, which is equivalent to 216 meals. They are taken to one of Global Impact’s many warehouses and then they are shipped to over 70 countries around the globe. At MSD, students packed a total of 77,000 meals. “I think today’s [Day of Service] is a really good idea, and I would honestly

much rather be doing this than just sitting at home and thinking about sad things and it really put me in a good mood,” sophomore Hannah Kravec said. Global Impact also set up stations at Pine Trails Park where students and other community members could also volunteer to pack meals. “I came because I thought it’d be [a] really great way to give back to the community”, sophomore Noa Livini said. The Feed My Starving Children project provided students with an outlet to cope with their own struggles through the opportunity of giving back to others in need of their next meal. Story by Rishita Malakapalli

Food for Thought. MSD senior Hunter Reilly spends his time on Feb. 14, 2019 packing meals for Feed My Starving Children in the gymnasium at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Photo by Hannah Kapoor

Helping Hands. MSD sophomore Lucca Santos participates in Feed My Starving Children event on Feb. 14, 2019 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Photo by Hannah Kapoor

Kids Helping Kids. Members of the MSD community donate their time on Feb. 14, 2019 at the Feed My Starving Children event at Pine Trails Park. Photo by Dara Rosen

On the Clock. MSD junior Leah Ronkin volunteers her time on Feb. 14, 2019 at Pine Trails Park for the Feed My Starving Children event. Photo by Dara Rosen

24 In Service • On Campus Service Projects


and love

Design by Dara Rosen

Students and faculty spend Feb. 14, 2019 donating their time to service projects on campus

Growing Together

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uring the school-wide “Day of Service and Love” on Feb. 14, 2019, astronomy teacher Brandon Jeter and 75 student volunteers worked on various projects in Marjory’s Garden from 7:40 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. Marjory’s Garden was created in 2016 as a student-centered project, allowing participants to be creative and build a positive environment for the school. When the day of service and love was initially proposed, Jeter knew immediately that the garden’s mission made it a good fit for the on campus service projects being offered on campus. “After last year, that mission became even more important: that we have a positive place on campus,” Jeter said. “Everything was planted, painted and built by students, which makes it a lot more personal.” Nearly 100 volunteers, including students, faculty and other district employees worked in the garden that day. “I want to be here [at Marjory’s Garden]. I live here. This is my home,” Marjory’s Garden Club President Lexi Smith said. “I feel safe here, and I want to feel safe today.” To many of the volunteers, the plant

life represented tranquility. “Gardening is one of the most therapeutic things I do,” senior Adiah Cunningham said. “There is something about watching the plants grow that has really helped me deal with everything this past year. There is no other place I’d rather be today.” Throughout the day, the volunteers accomplished a variety of tasks. One of them was to replace three old trees on Holmberg Road with bigger, healthier ones. They made the decision to plant and transfer the older trees to Marjory’s Garden since they were still alive. In addition, two butterfly experts gave a presentation in the outdoor classroom space. They taught a lecture on the life cycle of a butterfly and brought caterpillars and butterfly crysalli to show students and volunteers. For many, the garden is an oasis that reduces students’ stress during and after school. Whether it is coming on weekends to volunteer time to the garden or spending a class period reading outside, the garden offers something for everyone. “I wanted to do something fun today, and I want to be helpful to the school,”

Students, faculty and district employees volunteer in Marjory’s Garden

Giving Back. Freshman Keondre Edgeon spends his day on Feb. 14, 2019 helping out at Marjory’s Garden. Photo by Rebecca Schneid Barreling in the Love. MSD senior Lexi Smith donates her time on Feb. 14, 2019 to help out at Marjory’s Garden. Photo by Rebecca Schneid

freshman Keondre Edge said. From calming oneself by painting rocks or simply helping the garden flourish, many clubs continue in monthly volunteering events in the garden. Story by Kaleela Rosenthal

Serving Those Who Serve MSD students serve breakfast to first responders on one year anniversary of shooting

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n Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 approximately 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School participated in an on-campus service project where they fed the first responders on duty during the school shooting that took place exactly one year before. The two-hour long event, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., was held in the cafeteria where students passed out muffins, fruits and other pastries to the responders. Approximately 250 first responders from all over Broward County participated in the event and shared their stories with students. Church by the Glades and Chickfil-a coordinated the breakfast food items. “My partner and I had actually just started a new position at the Margate Police Department division, and when we heard the call [on Feb. 14, 2018] we immediately starting listening on our radios to hear what was going on and see how we could help,” Officer Samuel Finor said. The event allowed the officials and students to reflect together and pay their respects. Students also had a chance to meet, thank and talk to the officials who were working during the tragedy. “It gave me a chance to talk with them and finally say thank you for their service,” junior Andre Atencio said.

Many responders also paid homage to the students and reminded students of their own bravery. “I think [the event] is beautiful, but I think you guys are celebrating the wrong heroes; you guys are the actual heroes,” Finor said. The breakfast also gave the many responders a firsthand look into the growth and eagle pride of MSD. Although, for some, it was not their first time behind these silver and burgundy walls. “It feels really good. It’s kind of a homecoming of me because I actually Giving Back. MSD students serve breakfast to first responders on Feb. 14, went to Douglas, I graduated in 95’ and it 2019. Photo by Hannah Kapoor hurt me to see my school hurting in that way,” Sergeant Joseph Jaresborker said. Many students showed up for this service project, to not only give back to the officers, but also for their own wellbeing. For many students, the service project was a method of healing. It allowed them to be close to the school while still giving back to their community. “I felt that I needed to come here a year later and give back to the responders because they helped me so much,” sophomore Carlos Betancourt said. Students had a memorable day serving first responders, as they finally got to meet and share in each others company Thank You. MSD students make thank you Coffee for Cops. MSD senior Anju Joseph on a day that promoted both service and cards for first responders on Feb. 14, 2019. hands out coffee to first responders on Feb. 14, love. Story by Nicole Suarez Photo by Einav Cohen

2019. Photo by Hannah Kapoor

In Service • On Campus Service Projects 25


a Day of Healing

Sand and serenity

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n Feb. 14, 2019, science teacher Tammy Orilio and yoga teacher Amy Kenny hosted a yoga session and beach cleanup at Deerfield Beach as an off campus option as part of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s “Day of Service and Love.” This was one many service projects offered throughout Broward County on the oneyear anniversary of the MSD shooting. “This project was not only to honor those lost, but to help the students heal and cope by means of a community of love and support,” Orilio said. Along with the beach clean up, several other activities took place throughout the day. A yoga session, hosted by the two teachers, began at 9 a.m. with about 220 students, teachers and parents in attendance. Participants spread out on the sand, listening to the calming sounds of the ocean while working with partners to complete yoga poses. “It was really awesome because a lot of different people came,” junior Ella Giacomini said. “It was a super freeing experience, like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I feel more connected to my friends now.”

After yoga, everyone gathered around as rose petals were placed on the sand, arranged into a heart with the number 17 in the middle and the letters “MSD.” Students also released petals into the ocean to symbolize letting go of their unwanted emotions. These displays were placed just before the waves. “I thought the flower petals were a great touch. They symbolize the love we

Students cleanup Deerfield Beach and participate in yoga on Feb. 14, 2019

of our work displayed like that,” freshman Sidney Jenner said. “We really put all our emotions and feelings into the messages on the pillows. It was therapeutic.” The actual cleaning of the beach started afterwards. Buckets and gloves were handed out as everyone joined together and scoped the beach to collect stray items and litter. Within a short period of time, numerous buckets were

“There wasn’t really a set time for lunch,” freshman Makayla Jesionowski said. “People just kind of came and went as they pleased.” Some people decided to stay at the beach and brought their own lunches to enjoy along the beach shoreline. “I did see a couple of people that brought their own food,” freshman Mackenzie Teston said. “But most of the volunteers went to Burger Fi.” When the volunteers returned to the beach they immediately got back to work. Several therapy and service dogs were brought to the location to bring some comfort and joy to the volunteering students. They ranged from golden retrievers and Rottweilers, to smaller breeds like Yorkies. Most people crowded around the dogs after coming back with filled to the brim. have for the 17 victims that were taken their full buckets. “We found bottle caps, beer cans, from us,” junior Alexis Nilsson said. “They “Those dogs were so sweet,” were also biodegradable so it didn’t hurt plastic forks and spoons,” Jenner said. “It Jesionowski said. “As soon as they got to was really sad to see how people just leave the beach, I was all over them.” the beach.” all their trash everywhere, especially In the days leading up to the event, By 1 p.m. piles of filled trash bags since animals could accidentally eat it.” Kenny’s yoga students made their own and buckets lined the edge of the beach. At noon, people started to head to tiny heart pillows, each containing a Everyone gathered around once more special message. At the beach, they were lunch. Around the beach there are several and said goodbye now that the beach different restaurants and places to find placed together to form one big heart. was clean. Story by Ava Steil and Brianna “It was really amazing to finally see all something to eat. Jesionowski

It was really awesome because a lot of different people came. It was a super freeing experience, like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I feel more connected to my friends now.

26 In Service • Off Campus Healing


Design by Dara Rosen Comforting Cuddles. Junior Emily Wolfman plays with a micro-bunny on Feb. 14, 2019 at the Coral Springs Museum of Art. “I’m usually not an animal person at all. As soon as you get [the bunny] in your hands, all you are thinking about is how cute and little it is,” Wolfman said. “It helped me to forget about everything, even if just for 30 seconds.” Photo by Dara Rosen

Time for Healing. The Temple of Time was open for community members on Feb. 14, 2019 as a place of healing. The temple will be burned in a cleansing ceremony in May. Photo by Nyan Clarke

Frozen Freebies. Junior Rachel Nattis enjoys free Italian ices on Feb. 14, 2019 at Cecilie’s Italian Ices. Cecilie’s gave a free ice to anyone with a student ID. Photo by Brianna Fisher

Healing Hug. Senior Leeni AlHraki embraces freshman Valeria Menescal at the beach cleanup at Deerfield Beach on Feb. 14, 2019. “Cleaning up Deerfield Beach was very therapeutic for my friends, and I loved every second of it,” Al-Hraki said. Photo by Farrah Nickerson

Sun-kissed Stretches. Seniors Fallon McBrien and Sophie Ayoung Chee hold parter dancer pose together at Deerfield Beach Feb. 14, 2019. “This was a really relaxing experience that I shared with my best friend,” McBrien said. Photo by Zoe Gordon

Healing heartbreak

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ot everyone wanted to spend Feb. 14 participating in the service projects offered as part of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s “Day of Service and Love.” “On Feb. 14, I wanted to have a day to myself,” sophomore Karishma Tilak said. “A day of healing over a day of service.” Local businesses and organizations held events for those who were not up to participating in service projects. The Coral Springs Museum of Art hosted “Art-Play-Love” as a safe place for community members to take their minds off of the anxiety and sadness of the day. In February 2018, the museum started a “Healing with Art” program as a source of relaxation. “Art-Play-Love” went from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and welcomed all students free of charge. The event offered many ways to relieve stress. There was a wishing tree where people could write wishes and share thoughts of support and love; there was an interactive art piece meant to encourage creativity; and there were micro-bunnies, mini-pigs and therapy dogs to play with. They also had painted rocks decorated with words of hope and strength for anyone to take as a memento.

“Today has been really hard and doing something to take my mind off of it is really important, and I’m very appreciative for the community putting on events like this for us,” junior Katelyn Gomez said. California artist David Best built the

MSD students chose personal routes to healing, in lieu of service projects

to pay my respects, and I wanted to commemorate [those lost on Feb. 14, 2018],” sophomore Ariella Bishari said. “It helped with my healing because it was beautiful to see my community come together. The atmosphere at the temple was sad, but uplifting at the same time.”

Seeing the community give back to the students at MSD is amazing. It shows how they truly care about us.

“Temple of Time,” to create a place for members of the community to write messages of hurt, loss, love or hope. It will be burned in May as part of a purification ceremony. “I make an empty structure… it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just a pretty shape, and then people come and they put in their religion, their faith, their anger,” Best said in Feb. 4 interview with the Miami New Times. Understanding that their messages would be burned allowed people to let go of negative feelings and create room to let positivity into their lives. “I went to the Temple of Time

Other businesses throughout the community provided their own form of comfort and healing by giving students a place to go or offering them things to do. Cecilie’s Italian Ices in Coral Springs gave free Italian ices to anyone with a student ID. The Salt Box, also located in Coral Springs, offered free salt therapy sessions to students, faculty members and their families. The Coral Springs Gymnasium had free “open play” all day for any MSD students. Evolution yoga studio opened their doors to any student or staff member to “heal through yoga and fitness.” “Seeing the community give back to

the students at MSD is amazing,” junior Rachel Nattis said. “It shows how they truly care about us, even if it’s just a free scoop of ice cream. I am so grateful for the community I live in.” Surrounding cities such as Coconut Creek, Davie, Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Margate and Pembroke Pines all held commemoration events and observed moments of silence. Some students didn’t want to participate in any activities; the most healing thing for them was spending quality time with friends and family. “I went to Canada because my dad thought it’d be best if I go because all my family is up there including my mom, sisters, and my aunts and uncles, and I wanted to spend time with all of them,” Tilak said. “Being with family helped me during this time because they provided me with comfort and it made me feel better because I knew there were people who supported me during the hard times.” By deeming the one-year anniversary a day of service and love, students were able to spend the emotional day in whatever way they felt most comfortable with. Story by Dara Rosen; additional reporting by Joyce Han

In Service • Off Campus Healing 27


Hearts of

Hope

HandsOn Broward creates art panels and organizes 17 service projects

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n an effort to give back to the community and help the healing process of the families and survivors involved in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, HandsOn Broward created Parkland Hearts, an art project, along with 17 service projects dedicated to the 17 victims lost on Feb. 14, 2018 “Our network of volunteers following the tragedy wanted to know how they could help,” Kristina DaSilva, COO at HandsOn Broward, said. “A lot of resources were coming into Parkland; we wanted to give folks an outlet to do something, and also not get in the way of all of the efforts that were happening and so we created an art project in those immediate weeks that were following. That art project became a part of the Parkland Hearts Initiative. A second part of the initiative was the Parkland Hearts service projects, that’s something that started to happen a little later in

28 In Service • Parkland Hearts

the year... so through the support of our network and our committee each one of the projects benefited a cause close to the heart of either the families or the individuals that we lost.” HandsOn Broward inspires, equips and mobilizes people to effect positive change

School in Parkland, shock and heartbreak extend ripples through our schools, neighborhoods, gathering spaces and places of worship. In the moments when it becomes difficult to comprehend how such terrible acts of violence are possible, we are often left only with our words of

honor a specific victim and designed to mirror a cause they were passionate about. The service projects were completed between November and February. “We began the process of coordinating the projects about three months prior to the one year anniversary and the goal in doing that was so we could provide and put as much positivity out there at a time when we knew people we going to be revisiting those painful thoughts and memories,” DaSilva said. “These projects became a place for friends and family to come out and to feel safe and to do something meaningful and to make a difference in honor of someone they loved. It became a very special and beautiful process.” The art project consisted of 17 art hope, encouragement and togetherness– panels created by Parkland families, in Broward County through a variety of and our urgent desire for our world to activities such as creating art in public friends and local volunteers on Jan. 21. be better. As a way of honoring all those spaces, building sustainable gardens, The panels were created from paper affected by the Parkland tragedy, HandsOn hearts that had been sent to HandsOn teaching financial literacy, responding Broward is calling upon the helping hands Broward from across the country. to disasters and working to protect the of our community to create meaningful environment. “It was pretty beautiful in its entirety, service projects and art installations in According to ParklandHearts.org, to be totally honest,” junior Liam remembrance of those we lost.” “In the aftermath of a tragedy like the Kiernan said. “It was almost a symbol Each service project was created to events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High of remembrance in a way, it was able to

Healing through service, healing through helping others, feeling like you did something to honor that person, and you honor that person by helping somebody else in need. And I think that’s something I feel that every family member got and walked away with.


Design by Dara Rosen

Giving Back

HandsOn Broward honors 17 with service projects Alyssa Alhadeff Alyssa’s soccer team and coaches will be setting up a soccer field at Children’s Harbor for the children who live on the property, the team also participated in playing soccer with the children. Martin Duque-Anguiano Volunteers collected and donated goods to support Martin’s family and the migrant farmworkers’ community. Nicholas Dworet Volunteers participated in a beach clean-up and tree planting ceremony at Mizell-Johnson State Park. Heart-wrenching. Volunteers sort through thousands of hearts sent from all over the United States, selecting hearts that best reflected each individual person. Photo by

Helping Hands. At the Parkland Recreation Center, volunteers use rollers and a special glue to adhere the paper hearts to the panels on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. Photo by

Jaime Guttenberg Volunteers created a dance-themed mural and volunteered in a special needs dance class.

Dara Rosen

Nyan Clarke

Luke Hoyer Volunteers competed in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament with Boys and Girls Club kids.

Sweetheart. On Feb.14, 2019, thousands of people walk the area where the Parkland Hearts art panels were on display for the day. Photo by

Working From the Heart. Teacher’s aide Connie Forti works on Aaron Feis’s Parkland Hearts panel on Jan. 21, 2019 at the Parkland Recreation Center. Photo by Nyan Clarke

Cara Loughran Volunteers restored beach dunes vital to healthy turtle nesting grounds, planted sea oats and removed invasive plant species.

Nyan Clarke

Gina Montalto Volunteers participated in an art reception, book drive kick-off and library makeover at Kids in Distress Learning Center. Joaquin Oliver Volunteers participated in mural painting and a basketball court renovation. Alaina Petty Volunteers revitalized Keystone Halls, a residential center that houses and treats veterans who have struggled with substance abuse and PTSD. In Remembrance. English teacher Stacey Lippel stops to remember Alaina Petty. Lippel stopped at every panel to remember each of the 17 students and faculty who were memorialized in the Parkland Hearts panels.

Photo by Farrah Nickerson

show what we can do when we all come together, because you know, all the hearts being from all around the country and around like all over the world; it just really shows the love and support.” A sister affiliate organization known as HandsOn Orlando were a part of the response efforts that happened after the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Volunteers in Orlando reached out to HandsOn Broward and offered them insight and advice on what they did after the Pulse Nightclub shooting, which was bringing out huge scrolls to the nightclub for people to leave their personal thoughts and messages. From there the Parkland Hearts projects were formulated and set into action to help the community heal through service. “Aaron Feis meant the world to me and I wanted to do something to pay back to his family and express my feelings for him,” Connie Forti, an MSD teacher’s aide, said. “This meant the world to me because it was a nice way of paying tribute to the 17 students and faculty. When I went to the park after they were all done and set up I was able to able to go one by one and see the love that was poured out to them, it really helped me start to heal, it’s gonna

take a long time, but the panels helped a lot. It was beautiful, I walked that line at the park and was able to touch and feel for each person that was there.” All 17 panels were displayed in an art installation at Pine Trails Park on Feb. 14, 2019. The panels served as a memorial for many, as an interfaith service was held at the park in remembrance of the one-year anniversary of the shooting. “I think it’s important to know that this whole thing had one thought in mind, and that was ‘service heals,’” Dale Mandell, president and CEO of HandsOn Broward said in a recent interview with The Sun Sentinel. “Healing through service, healing through helping others, feeling like you did something to honor that person, and you honor that person by helping somebody else in need. And I think that’s something I feel that every family member got and walked away with.” The non-profit organization aimed is at creating a legacy for the victims and helping others heal through service. Story by Taylor Yon

Meadow Pollack Volunteers beautified the front entrance of Broward County Animal Shelter and helped socialize with the dogs and cats of the shelter. Helena Ramsay Volunteers assisted Abandoned Pet Rescue by socializing with animals and also helping with chores needed for the center. Alex Schachter Volunteers participated in the creation of a music-themed mural. Carmen Schentrup Volunteers created “Carmen’s Garden,” a butterfly garden,at the Anne Strok Center. Volunteers cleaned up the space and planted plants. Peter Wang Family and JROTC members went to Broward Outreach Center and resurfaced a basketball court on site. Scott Beigel Volunteers revitalized the North Lauderdale Boys and Girls Club.

Aaron Feis Volunteers prepared and served a meal at Broward Outreach Center for the homeless, additional projects included landscaping, butterfly garden revitalization and donation sorting. Chris Hixon A team of runners participated in the Chris Hixon Memorial 5K and the Special Olympics honored Hixon.

In Service • Parkland Hearts 29


Design by Rebecca Schneid

Makeshift Memorial. Senior Hannah Kapoor lights a candle after an interfaith ceremony at Pine Trails Park to remember the 17 victims killed last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Photo courtesy of John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS

Together in prayer Five thousand attend sunset interfaith service at Pine Trails Park on Feb.14, 2019

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n the months leading up to Feb. 14, 2019, the one year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, members of the Parkland and Coral Springs community were in search of an event to bring the community closer, to remember the victims and families affected, and to foster a sense of healing and unity. So, the MSD administration partnered with the cities of Coral Springs and Parkland, as well as the faith-based organizations in the area to organize an interfaith service open to all community members. This interfaith service occurred on the one year anniversary at 6:30 p.m. at Pine Trails Park. To begin, video played, illustrating the experience of the victims’ families while creating their panels for the Parkland Hearts project, which were displayed at the service. Then, religious leaders from different faith-based organizations spoke, including leaders from Congregation Kol Tikvah, Church by the Glades, Coastal Community Church and Park Ridge Church. “After a couple of rounds of speaking to students and victims, families and just others around the community, we decided that it would be best to let the clergy speak because they understand kind of what the community is going through,” City of Parkland Special Project Manager Gayle Vasile said. “We knew they could speak words of encouragement and reinforce all of the things that we’ve been

through in the last year; we wanted to make sure that they brought that message to the community.” Many students felt that hearing from their religious leaders was extremely empowering and useful, as their religion was a coping mechanism for the past year, and going back to it on the anniversary was an important step towards healing.

Foundation of South Florida spoke at the service. “It was important for the imam to be there because, even though none of the victims were Muslim, those of all communities were affected,” senior Qadir Hameed said. “Islams are part of the community as well, and we wanted to show our solidarity… because Islam

members and parents, the organizers planned multiple service projects utilizing student suggestions. But, they also recognized there needed to be a place for students to congregate after the half day of school, which ended at 11:40 a.m. Very early on, the group decided that the event should occur at Pine Trails Park, since this was the site of the last year’s vigil on Feb. 15, 2018. “We all recognized that when students want to go to remember, [Pine Trails Park] has become the place where you all congregate,” Ethics teacher Sandi Davis said. “It’s a common area where everyone in the community have wonderful memories growing up or wonderful memories of the people that we lost, but is based upon peace and prosperity, it’s also the place we went to be together and helping others in whatever way in our heartache and grief in those initial we can. So, I was very happy we were days [after the shooting].” represented.” From there, it became a process of In order to ensure that each student ensuring that this service was one of felt represented, and that the event unity and strength, which brought the was done tastefully, the organizers of community together. This goal required the event planned tediously. Starting in proactive planning of the organization November 2018, representatives from team to ensure that the students and each faith-based organization, the School community members felt both physically Board of Broward County, the City of and emotionally safe at the park and that Parkland, the City of Coral Springs and the event went smoothly. school administration met each Tuesday “I think the event was a success–I hope in preparation, discussing the logistics of we gave kids a safe space to go and gather, the event, the location and security. and to remember how much they’ve In November, students took a survey overcome the past year, and remember the during their personalization classes victims,” Vasile said. regarding what they wanted to do on the Five thousand students, parents and anniversary, and representatives from residents of Coral Springs and Parkland all student organizations held a meeting attended the event. More than a religious to discuss what they envisioned their service, it provided many students with anniversary day to be. Taking into account time to reunite with their friends and these answers, as well as things pushed teachers, and remember those that are for throughout the community of family missed. Story by Rebecca Schneid

At the park, it was really nice to see all religious leaders together as a sign of unification, but honestly, I was there to be with my friends just as much as for my religion. The city had seen this trend, and understood that an interfaith service would be appropriate in an attempt to help those affected this year. “When I found out that Gina was one of the victims, it was really hard for me because I knew her from my confirmation class at church, so my religion and church was really important to me so we could be together and have faith,” said junior Karen Villancio-Wolter. “At the park, it was really nice to see all religious leaders together as a sign of unification, but honestly, I was there to be with my friends just as much as for my religion.” Furthermore, the diversity of faiths represented at the service was appreciated by many in the community. Once they decided the event would be based on faith, the organizers knew each religion should be included in order to promote unity within the community. Although none of the victims practiced Islam, an imam from the Islamic

30 In Service • Sunset Interfaith Service


Design by Taylor Yon and Nyan Clarke

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Profile for The Eagle Eye

In Service - The Eagle Eye Vol. 4, Issue 3  

Third quarter issue of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's news magazine The Eagle Eye. Topics include, the one-year anniversary of t...

In Service - The Eagle Eye Vol. 4, Issue 3  

Third quarter issue of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's news magazine The Eagle Eye. Topics include, the one-year anniversary of t...