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Glens Falls students honor victims of school shootings in Parkland and across the countryGlens Falls students walking in front of high school building

March 14, 2018—In a student-led tribute to the victims of school shootings in Parkland, Florida and across the country, hundreds of Glens Falls high-schoolers walked out of their classrooms and assembled together in remembrance on Wednesday, March 14th.

Just after 10 a.m., students streamed out of a side door at Glens Falls High School, and peacefully marched around the front of the building, supported by school staff members and multiple officers from the Glens Falls Police Department who were on hand to ensure student safety. The student-organized walkout was led by seniors Isabel Dickey and Keeley Platt, junior Emma Chzanowski, and sophomore Regina Erwin. It was coordinated to coincide with National School Walkout Day.

Upon re-entering the building, students assembled in the high school’s auditorium, where student leaders of the event spoke eloquently in honoring the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, one month ago today.

Student leader Isabel Dickey said, “we walked out today because it could be us.”

“And right now, hundreds of other schools are doing the same thing we are, because it could be them, too,” she continued.

Octet singers perform in front of a slide show of school shooting victims

“We want the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas to know they have support- and that we will remember. In a simple 17 minute memorial, all of us here, and every other student who walked out of their school at 10 am, have shown that in the face of fear and tragedy students will remain strong and united. And we will be the change.”

During the moving 17-minute tribute, each Parkland victim’s photo, name, and age were displayed on a screen, and the high school’s choral group, Octet, sang about peace and justice with the song “Like a Mighty River.”

“It was hard not be emotional as the students sat silently, hearing the names and seeing the faces of the Parkland victims,” said High School Principal Tammy Silvernell. “The student organizers of today's event demonstrated tremendous leadership. The students who participated in the remembrance showed courage, empathy, compassion, and expressed their sadness in a constructive way.”

“I am very proud of our students for the amazing tribute they organized for the victims of Parkland,” said Superintendent Paul Jenkins. “Our students were clear about the fact that something needs to change in our society to avoid these senseless tragedies in schools.”

At one point in the ceremony, junior Emma Chzanowski read the names of 23 towns across the country that have experienced fatal school shootings since the Columbine tragedy in 1999. “The oldest of Glens Falls High School students were born in 1999, and almost all of us in the years after,” Emma said. “All we have known is a world where school shootings are normal. The death toll from these 24 shootings is 112 total. That would be almost all of Glens Falls’ senior class—gone.”

“Columbine never knew that something like a school shooting would ever happen,” she continued. “Those 23 other schools after never thought it would be them. They all have faced the same devastation—students and staff being killed where they’re supposed to be safe.”

At the end of the remembrance, students participated in a moment of silence before heading back to their classes. The students have put a donation box in the school’s library to collect funds for the March For Our Lives organization.

“Giving our students an opportunity to have a voice on something they care deeply about is very important,” said Mr. Jenkins. “If the students of Glens Falls High School represent the future leaders of our country, we are going to see great things happening in the years to come!”

A brief video clip of the walkout is available here: https://www.facebook.com/GlensFallsCSD/videos/1910480602315846/