KHS Walk­out shows how unity can be pow­er­ful

Kutz­town joins schools across coun­try in stu­dent-driven move­ment that re­jects fear and hate, em­braces com­pas­sion

Northern Berks Patriot Item - - FRONT PAGE - By Brady Tucker

More than 140 Kutz­town Area High School stu­dents walked out of their classes at 10:13 a.m. on March 14 for the #Enough Na­tional School Walk­out in honor of the vic­tims of the school shoot­ing at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Park­land, Florida.

Stu­dents gath­ered in­side the gym­na­sium where stu­dent or­ga­niz­ers read the names and eu­lo­gies of the 17 vic­tims of the Park­land shoot­ing. There was a mo­ment of si­lence, then stu­dent or­ga­niz­ers asked stu­dents to sign a ban­ner read­ing “We Stand To­gether,” which will be sent to Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School as a show of unity and sup­port. Stu­dents then re­mained stand­ing in si­lence un­til 10:30 a.m., then re­turned to their classes.

KHS Walk­out stu­dent or­ga­nizer and Kutz­town se­nior, Olivia Sica, 17, re­ceived sup­port from both high school and district ad­min­is­tra­tion for the event. In her

ini­tial email in­form­ing stu­dents of the Walk­out, Sica en­sured her fel­low class­mates that the walk­out was sim­ply a show of sup­port and unity for the stu­dents and fam­i­lies from Park­land.

“Many of the vic­tims were high school stu­dents not un­like our­selves. When ter­ri­ble tragedies strike, it is im­por­tant to show sym­pa­thy and com­pas­sion to­ward the peo­ple af­fected by those tragedies,” said Sica. “In fact, the sup­port of high school­ers like our­selves may be the most valu­able to the stu­dents in Park­land, Florida.”

Kutz­town Su­per­in­ten­dent Ge­orge Fiore sup­ported the stu­dents and was proud of the way the stu­dent or­ga­niz­ers de­cided to con­duct the Walk­out.

“The stu­dents at Kutz­town are quite giv­ing and com­pas­sion­ate to oth­ers. We feel that this is an ap­pro­pri­ate way for our stu­dents to show sup­port and civic ac­tivism in a safe man­ner.”

Sica, along with Walk­out or­ga­niz­ers and Kutz­town se­niors Ju­lia Mace, 18, and Kiana Har­ing, 18, wanted to dis­play how a show of unity, re­gard­less how small, can be pow­er­ful.

“In­di­vid­ual stu­dents and even in­di­vid­ual high schools are small when they stand alone. By join­ing with so many other schools all across the coun­try, Kutz­town can con­trib­ute to a pow­er­ful, stu­dent-driven move­ment that re­jects fear and hate, and em­braces com­pas­sion.”

Mace be­lieves the Walk­out was im­por­tant as a means of be­ing so­cially ac­tive as well as be­ing so­cially aware.

“I feel the Walk­out is im­por­tant be­cause it’s cru­cial in a time like this that we stu­dents use our voices and stand in sup­port with the stu­dents in Park­land, Florida,” said Mace. “It’s im­por­tant to use this Walk­out as a way to re­mem­ber the stu­dents at the school, and let them know we are here to fight with them and sup­port them, and also re­mem­ber the friends and teach­ers they lost.”

“When tragedies like the Park­land shoot­ing strike, it’s im­por­tant to help the vic­tims of the tragedy in any way you can,” said Sica.

Chris Schu­macher, a gov­ern­ment teacher at Kutz­town, praised the stu­dents for han­dling them­selves in a re­spect­ful and in­spir­ing man­ner.

“I’m so proud of our stu­dents for the man­ner in which they ap­proached the Walk­out,” said Schu­macher. “Stu­dent lead­ers who wanted to ex­press sym­pa­thy for those stu­dents lost at Stone­man Dou­glas worked with our ad­min­is­tra­tion to pro­vide a safe and or­ga­nized venue to ex­press them­selves. Stu­dent or­ga­niz­ers were adamant that this event be fo­cused on memo­ri­al­iz­ing vic­tims in­stead of ad­vo­cat­ing for a cer­tain po­lit­i­cal stance.”

Stu­dent or­ga­niz­ers were moved and ex­tremely ap­pre­cia­tive by the large num­ber of stu­dents who par­tic­i­pated in the Walk­out.

“I’m so grate­ful that ev­ery­one wanted to par­tic­i­pate. It was amaz­ing to see how many stu­dents at our school cared and that we all wanted to band to­gether in sup­port of the stu­dents at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas,” said Mace.

“I’m thrilled at how pos­i­tive the stu­dent re­sponse has been. It re­ally just shows how stu­dents can come to­gether, even un­der such ter­ri­ble cir­cum­stances,” said Sica.

BRADY TUCKER - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Kutz­town High School Walk­out stu­dent or­ga­niz­ers hold a signed ban­ner that will be sent to Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Park­land, Florida. In pic­ture, from left to right, Olivia Sica, Ju­lia Mace, Sa­muel Arnold, and Hunter Wil­low-Jones.

BRADY TUCKER — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Kutz­town High School Walk­out stu­dent or­ga­niz­ers read the names and eu­lo­gies of the 17 vic­tims of the Park­land shoot­ing.

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