Students, faculty, and parents gathered on the Hebrew Academy high school patio this past Wednesday to commemorate lives lost at Stoneman Douglas High School.
The ceremony featured a moment of silence for the victims, candle-lighting for the 17 victims, and speeches from several students. The assembled crowd of students, faculty and parents all wore identical “Douglas Strong” shirts to show their solidarity.
“It was a really serious atmosphere,” said Abraham Corcia (12th grade). “Very somber, but at the same time it was still a sense of relief.”
Channel 7 news reporter Rosh Lowe spoke about covering the shooting and put Andy Pollack, father of 18 year-old victim Meadow Pollack, on FaceTime to deliver a message for the crowd. Pollack said how touched he was by the Jewish community during his difficult time and he told students to focus on making schools safe and not making it a political issue.
“I thought the ceremony was very inspiring, and it was special for me because I covered this story from the first day, and I got to know several of these families that were impacted,” Lowe said. “And that’s why I had all of you listen to Andy Pollack, Meadow’s father, because I wanted all of you to understand how real this was and that this isn’t just something that you see on television, that this is very real.”
Wet eyes pervaded the patio during the ceremony as students felt the gravity of the losses.
“Absolute tragedy, ripped my heart out, no words,” said Itai De Roca (12th), who spoke during the ceremony.
Student speakers read poems, mourned the victims and spoke about changes needed to prevent future school shootings.
“It’s good to know that kids are trying to make a difference, stand up and have their voices heard,” said Shuee Shaulson (11th).
Students and faculty said they were moved by the ceremony.
“I thought it was very nice that the whole school wore the same shirt to show that we actually do care in unity,” said Mark Alishayev (12th), who spoke at the ceremony. “These things actually do matter because our voices are being heard.”
Proceeds from the shirts sold will go to Chabad of Parkland, which is helping the families of all the victims. Continuing its memorializing of the lives lost, Hebrew Academy High School will continue its daily post-Mincha student presentations for each of the 17 victims for 17 days.
By: Shayna Boymelgreen (11th grade), Mery Kamhazi (11th), Hannah Mayer (11th), and Cathy Safdie (11th)