By: Yael Bister (11th Grade)
Fifty-two weeks, 365 days, and 525,600 minutes ago, a mass shooting shocked the nation. On the afternoon of February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School, murdering 17 innocent people.
On that day, my last period was ending when my teacher suddenly stopped everything and turned on the news. My classmates and I stared in confusion as my teachers’ eyes widened, the horrific news reflected in his face. Disbelief overcame us as we learned of the horrific shooting at MSD, a school just a few hours away from our own.
However, what happened after the tragedy was what really galvanized me. The Hebrew Academy student body knew that they had to respond to this tragedy. We did so by showing support for the MSD survivors and the families of the victims. Each student at Hebrew Academy took some part in this process, which included creating and buying Douglas Strong shirts, joining hands with our neighbors (Miami Beach Senior High School) in a walkout for better gun reform, protesting with the March For Our Lives group, and even visiting MSD High School.
Perhaps the most impactful moment for me was a visit to the school in March as part of a delegation. This trip was equally inspiring as it was challenging. As I pulled into the school, thousands of notes and banners hanging from the fences greeted me, each one sending its own special message of love and support.
Now, a year later, those messages still ring true in my ears. Those messages are of hope. Hope that we will not have to go through this again. Hope that kids will not have to fear for their lives while receiving an education. Hope that our generation will voice their beliefs and create a change we want in the world. If we do not act now, then when will we?
May we always remember the Victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting: Alyssa Alhadeff (age 14), Gina Montalto (age 14), Martin Duque (age 14), Cara Loughran (age 14), Jaime Guttenberg (age 14), Alaina Petty (age 14), Alex Schachter (age 14), Luke Hoyer (age 15), Peter Wang (age 15), Carmen Schentrup (age 16), Nicholas Dworet (age 17), Joaquin Oliver (age 17), Helena Ramsay (age 17), Meadow Pollack (age 18), Scott Beigel (age 35), Aaron Feis (age 37), and Chris Hixon (age 49).