While students across the nation were walking out of school buildings on March 14 as part of a gun violence protest, Winthrop High School students decided to rally a day later because of snow, but last Thursday they congregated in the gymnasium for a peaceful gathering.
“I don’t want to hear about school shootings so often that we are numb to it,” said sophomore, Zara Powell, as she spoke to her classmates and teachers.
The gathering shed light on the reality of school shootings as students read text messages that were sent from victim to victim in the midst of the tragic past events. Somber yet honest words such as, “my teacher just died,” and “There is a shooter in the building,” were a few of the exchanges reenacted.
Students lined up in front of the podium and shared detailed information about the victims whose lives were lost in the recent Parkland school shooting, making them seem less as strangers and more as one of their own classmates or teachers. Like the students at Winthrop High, the victims in Parkland were artists, athletes, volunteers, and college bound men and women with promising futures. They were teachers and coaches who dedicated their lives to educating and who died protecting their students.
World language teacher, Michael Nickerson, shared his thoughts on the challenges that teachers face when it comes to school shootings. “As teachers we do our best to answer questions, but when it comes to school shootings, it’s not always easy,” said Nickerson. “You have the support of the teachers and we will work together to make school safe.”
In a powerful speech, State Sen. Joe Boncore expressed the importance of generational responsibility.
“This is the moment that you stand up for those who couldn’t,” said Boncore. “My hope as a legislature is that I can make a change so the burden won’t be on you.”
Following the many speeches, students joined together hand-in-hand on the gymnasium floor and sang the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” led by Fiona MacPhail and Stephen Tracy.