Darby prepares for student-led school shooting assembly
Hilliard Darby will align with thousands of schools worldwide to participate in a remembrance of the students lost due to school shootings. The solemn “Youth Empowerment” assembly on Wednesday, March 14th, will feature a student speaker, music, and a walk to the stadium.
Since the deaths of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, student-led initiatives have been popping up all around the world. The nation’s students will participate in the National School Walkout simultaneously on Wednesday. The event, organized by The Women’s March, calls to protest “Congress’ refusal to take action on the gun violence epidemic plaguing our schools and neighborhoods”, according to their website.
Beginning at 10:00 am, students and staff who wish to participate will be called down to the main gymnasium where there will be 17 candles, one for each of the Parkland victims. Students will then be guided to the stadium where the choir will perform and Bailey Culp, Senior Class President, will give a short speech. Afterwards, everyone will re-enter the school and return to their third period classes.
Junior Emma Huhn was asked to ring the victory bell for each fallen student during the assembly. She was one of the students who contacted administration once the National School Walkout was announced.
“I couldn’t just sit and do nothing. This shooting felt different and I wanted my voice to be heard,” Huhn explained.
Culp hopes to guide his classmates to move forward even in the face in tragedy with his speech.
“I’m a tad nervous to speak in front of such a crowd, given that I’ve never spoken to this many people at a specific time, but I’m honored to be able to be a voice for the school and for the lives that were lost in Parkland,” Culp expressed, “As nerve racking as it is to speak, it’s a very humbling experience that I’ve been given by Ms. Brickley.”
Assistant Principal Matt Middleton provided information on the organization of the event.
“It’s not going to be a political assembly because this is not about gun control or the NRA,” Middleton stated, “This is about honoring those 17 victims and also remembering those victims that have lost their lives in other school shootings prior Parkland.”
Hilliard Bradley and Davidson are also having their own events to remember the victims of the Parkland shooting. Bradley will have a moment of silence as well as gathering later in the day to memorialize the lives lost in school shootings. Davidson students who wish to walkout will have the option to at 10:00 am for 17 minutes while being supervised by staff members.
“I love that Darby has decided to do this assembly to honor the lives lost…. I know the school does a lot to make us feel safe. I try to [feel safe] but I will never truly feel safe until school shootings are a thing of the past and action is made,” Huhn explained.