Remembering Stoneman Douglas

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Remembering Stoneman Douglas

Katelyn Moore, Editor in Chief

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          School shootings. With just these two words, a community can turn numb and a nation can turn to crisis. They portray some of the worst crimes to occur and can bring on the most pain and hardships for individuals to face. On February 14th, 2018, a 19 year old boy invaded his former high school in Parkland, Florida and used a military semi-automatic weapon to bring havoc, resulting in 17 lives lost and even more injured. As the word reached around the world, individuals such as government officials, Olympic competitors, as well as victims of previous school shootings, poured out prayers and condolences to the families of the individuals affected by the 6th school shooting to occur in the past two months.

Who Was Behind This?

          At the mere age of 19 years old, Cruz had been expelled from two schools, held back two times yet was awarded for outstanding appearance and conduct at these institutions as well as being listed under several awards for academics. While his grades may have perceived him as an excellent and well-behaved student, he was completely the opposite. Orphaned at a young age, the boy grew up in Parkland, Florida, maintaining a pretty well-off childhood until his adoptive father died. From then on, Nikolas became explosive and blinded by his emotions. He killed neighborhood pets with pellet guns, wandered along drainage ditches in the middle of the night, peeked into neighbor’s houses at bizarre hours while picking fights and biting their children during the day. These occurrences only worsened over time. Cruz began selling knives from his lunchbox in middle school, forcing his pet dogs to eat squirrels he had personally killed, and soon could no longer carry a backpack on school premises. Both students and teachers feared him, whisperings and chain emails following him everywhere he went. Yet, even after weekly complaints and credible accounts, no severe actions were taken by the Parkland officials to ensure safety for both the residents of this community and Nikolas Cruz himself.

Thursday, February 14th

          What was forecasted to be a murky and drizzly morning turned out to be one fit for the holiday of love. Families everywhere scurried to eat breakfasts before parting ways to school and work. A father hollered down a hall for a child still not up for school only to get a reply that nobody goes to school on Valentine’s Day. The festivities folded out just as expected. Chocolates were exchanged with exceeding enthusiasm, lockers splayed with the cheesiest decorations thought of. It was a perfect, sun-kissed day. Amidst the hundreds of flower delivery cars dashing to and fro, an Uber was en route to a local high-school about to be released. In it, a 19 year old boy embraced a backpack seemingly unnecessary for someone who didn’t go to school on holidays. Meanwhile, Stoneman Douglas eagerly awaited the bell, looking forward to plans made for that evening, plans that would never be gratified. Nobody noticed a sore thumb sticking out on the second floor landscape except for a freshman who had the misfortune to stumble across a fellow student emptying his backpack. The last words he heard before his and 31,000+ other lives were changed were, “You’d better get out of here. Things are about to get messy.”

          Fire alarms went off just moments after, surfacing grumbles from students whose future of getting out of school soon were taken away from them. However, teachers began yanking children back into classrooms and shouting for them to get under cover. Confusion, accompanied by panic, arose as screams and unmistakeable sounds blended together to paint the appalling picture Stoneman Douglas would soon have plastered all around the world.



          A football coach ran down hallways, only stopping to throw himself on a freshman to shield her from a shower of bullets. An Algebra teacher quickly put paper over her classroom windows to block visibility but could
not control the trembling in her hands. An English class upstairs dropped their novels at the sound of gunshots and ran to crouch in a corner only to endure watching classmates and friends sprint down hallways trying to find somewhere open that would let them in. Classroom 1216 clung to each other and let out words of prayers in silence for those in other areas such as the geography hall, where Mr. Scott Beigel unlocked his door to let  swarms of individuals take refuge in his room only to be struck down himself, or the exit door past the hall, where  junior Peter Wang was killed holding a door open to let other students out of the building.

          It took five minutes from the first gunshots heard for a full entourage of police cars and ambulances to arrive on scene. It took twenty-two minutes for a nineteen year old boy to arrive at Walmart and enjoy a Coke while taking time to watch crowds check out their groceries. It took twenty-seven minutes for news to be released locally about the shooting and the estimated body count. It took sixty-five minutes for the first patients to arrive at Broward Health Medical Center. It took sixty-eight minutes for the whole school to be cleared and released to concerned and anxiously waiting parents. It took sixty-five minutes for the nineteen year old to change gears and make his way to McDonald’s for a “better” Coke. It took sixty-eight minutes for families to realize their loved ones weren’t among the throngs of students pouring out from Stoneman Douglas. It took seventy-three minutes for Nikolas Cruz to be detained and for the community of Parkland, Florida to begin to process the horrendous events that had only occurred seventy-three minutes ago.

The Aftermath

          On February 19th, 2018, a Fort Lauderdale courtroom filled to witness the sentencing of Nikolas Cruz, who entered with his head bowed, choosing only to acknowledge his attorneys. After a brief hearing on how much of the case should be sealed and how much access will be granted to the criminal, Cruz was ultimately charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is expected to face a life behind bars.

          While a hearing commenced, a community gathered to mourn the losses of 17 lives as well as the hole indirectly placed in the center of Parkland that can only be mended by time. Grief led them to different paths, from rallies to constructing make-shift memorials outside of the high school. Jordan and Ethan Faber, Bailey and Sammy Feurman, Devin Weisenfeld, and many others demanded the world to listen to the unspeakable horrors they experienced and to support them in their search for change in the United States. Emma Gonzalez gave a speech that was broadcasted nation-wide about the pleas to regulate guns. Their words did not fall on deaf ears. 60 students at South Broward High School walked out in protest the following day. Political figures and celebrities reached out in support. An Olympic pairs skating program was dedicated to the lives affected by the shooting. Actions are still being taken to ensure that this event isn’t just remembered as a number, as “only” the 6th school shooting to happen this year. Stoneman Douglas will not be forgotten.

From Weiss to Stoneman Douglas

Our hearts are with you at this very numbing time. We can in no mean try to understand what the difficulties and emotions you are facing but we can only hope that our words can lighten your spirit in some way. You are not alone. Though it may feel this way a multitude of times, you have a whole nation pouring out prayers and condolences for you and your families. You are more than this event, this terrible, sickening, and heart wrenching event. Grief may never go away but you have the choice to let it be accompanied by happiness in remembering those lost in your community and pushing to change it so that these things have no possibility of happening again. We are so proud of your school’s persistence in bringing attention to this issue. We love you. We stand by you. We support you.

-Weiss High School


(victim of Stoneman Douglas shooting)

Life is like a roller coaster
It has some ups and downs
Sometimes you can take it slow or very fast
It may be hard to breath at times
But you have to push yourself and keep going
Your bar is your safety
It’s like your family and friends
You hold on tight and you don’t let go
But sometimes you might throw your hands up
Because your friends and family will always be with you
Just like that bar keeping you safe at all times
It maybe too much for you at times — the twists, the turns, the upside downs
But you get back up
You keep chugging along
Eventually it comes to a stop
You won’t know when or how
But you will know that’ll be time to get off and start anew
Life is like a roller coaster


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Alyssa Alhadeff (14)

“Alyssa was a beautiful, smart, talented, successful, awesome, amazing soccer player. You’ll be greatly missed, Alyssa. We love you so much. You’ll always, always be in our hearts.”

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Scott Beigel (35)

“Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom. I am alive today because of him.”

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Martin Duque Anguiano (14)

“He was a very funny kid, outgoing, and sometimes really quiet. He was sweet and caring and loved by all his family. Most of all he was my baby brother.”

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Nicholas Dworet (17)

“Nicholas was a leader and a “big brother” figure. He had a diverse taste in music, was close with his family and found joy in every part of his life.”

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Aaron Feis (37)

“He died the same way he lived — he put himself second. He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”

“He guided me through them (leukemia treatments). He would send me prayers. He would send me Bible scripts and just stuff to cheer up my day, like funny memes. He was just an amazing person to be led on and taught by, and I’m thankful enough to even be in his presence, just going through high school.”

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Jaime Guttenberg (14)

“We’re going to fight for causes to make a difference … What comes out of this will be a blessing for Jaime, in her memory.”

“Hundreds sobbed as Guttenberg was remembered as a friendly teen who loved to talk, a passionate dancer, a dog lover, and a volunteer who had her life figured out: She wanted to be married at 25, become a mother, and work as an occupational therapist.”

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Chris Hixon (49)

“He just loved being around kids and giving back to the community. He loved being an American and serving in his country and he instilled that in our children.”

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Luke Hoyer (15)

“He was an amazing individual. Always happy, always smiling. His smile was contagious, and so was his laugh.”

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Cara Loughran (14)

“Cara was a beautiful soul and always had a smile on her face.”

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Gina Montalto (14)

“I know somewhere in the heavens she’s designing the latest and greatest trends and has her art book she always carried with her as well.”

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Joaquin Oliver (17)

“Among friends at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he was known as ‘Guac,’ a moniker that appeared on his Instagram account. His interests: football, basketball, the Venezuelan national soccer team, urban graffiti and hip-hop.”

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Alaina Petty (14)

“She loved to serve. While we will not have the opportunity to watch her grow up and become the amazing woman we know she would become, we are keeping an eternal perspective.”

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Meadow Pollack (18)

“Meadow was a lovely young woman, who was full of energy.” “Her life was taken way too soon. May she rest in peace”

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Helena Ramsey (17)

“Helena was a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person. She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her. She was so brilliant and witty, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone.”

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Alex Schachter (14)

Poem listed above

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Carmen Schentrup (16)

“While many people considered Carmen mature beyond her years (she recently joked people had been asking her how she liked college since she was a freshman), she was still a kid at heart. She was silly, playful, and huggable. As parents, we loved that she never outgrew our hugs and would hug us before she went to bed. We miss her hugs.”

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Peter Wang (15)

“It’s hard to not have him in the hallways anymore because me and him used to laugh with each other. He used to make me smile. And now he’s gone.”

“His selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area.”


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