The Parkland Shooting: One year later


Lauren Stallworth, Editor

The morning of Wednesday, February 17, 2018 started like any other for staff and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. That morning, 129 teachers left their houses to go to school, with approximately 3,158 students following behind them. 17 of those people never came back home. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student entered the school, pulled the fire alarm, and opened gun-fire. The shooting left the community devastated, and so many people in mourning. This past Thursday, one year after the shooting, here at Cypress Creek, we decided to give the victims are own memorial. While most kids’ minds across the country only thought of balloons and candy this Valentine’s Day, a few of us made the decision to focus on something else, something far more important. We dedicated that day to education and support of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. The response we received from the student body was incredible.

If you walked into the CCMHS cafeteria on Thursday, what you saw was not our normal stage arrangement. You did not see your counselors on the stage with their computers, or the coyote cash snack cart being rolled around. Instead, you saw something very different; 17 empty chairs, the only contents a name-tag, a candle, and a white rose. You would have seen a projection on the screen, with three teachers and fourteen students. Their faces, young and happy, eagerly looking back at us. You would have seen on each side of the projection screen red banners, with words of condolence and kindness written of them. The school logo, and the phrase “never again” posted around the cafeteria. Some of our middle school students did not know much about the shooting, while the memorial brought many high-schoolers to tears. Regardless, the message was universal; this was important. Each lunch, a small speech was made, and then students were invited to come onto the stage. As one of the students running the memorial, my heart was warmed by the interest of the students. Kids asked questions, wrote heartfelt messages, took pictures. It was not just an ordinary day. It was a day of remembrance and honor.

Sometimes in high school, it is easy to have divisions among students. A difference of opinions, an argument, different lives. But on Thursday, all divisions fell. There was no animosity, it was truly just love and respect. In a world where we often only see bad things happen, it is a nice reminder that we can come together, even if through tragedy.

I will never forget the day the shooting happened. I was in fourth period when the news reports started coming in. I was horrified to hear about it; no one deserved to die like that. Then my phone buzzed, it was my friend who had moved here from that area only a year ago, she had gone to the next school over from MSD. She said that friends were sending her frantic texts and pictures from the shooting. She was in tears. That night, she told me she knew one of the students who died.

So many people didn’t feel affected by the shooting, we lived hours away they said. But you never know how close tragedy is. The person sitting next to you might be from Parkland. Maybe one of your friends had a cousin that went to that school. Regardless of our physical separation, we are all students. We go to school every day. We face the same threats. We all share that bond. That is why our memorial was so important. Because every one of the victims deserved to be honored. The survivors deserved to be honored. They had to go through the unthinkable, doing something that every one of us does every day. That is why my heart goes out to them, not just from me, but from our school.

To Alyssa Alhadeff, Scott Beigel, Martin Duque Anguiano, Nicholas Dworet, Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenberg, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup, and Peter Wang: we will forever mourn you. To all the families and friends of the victims, your daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, best friends- we are so sorry for your loss. And to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, your strength is remarkable, none of your stories will ever be forgotten.

Below are photos that were taken from our CCMHS memorial