Farm­ing­ton Stu­dents Re­mem­ber Shoot­ing Vic­tims

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kutter

— In­stead of walk­ing out to protest gun vi­o­lence, stu­dents at Farm­ing­ton’s Fresh­man Academy showed their sup­port to stu­dents from Florida’s Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School by cre­at­ing a ban­ner with com­fort­ing words, Bi­ble scrip­tures and pic­tures.

“This is like a ‘walk­ing up’ and show­ing our sup­port,” said Maecy Gar­ner, who spear­headed the project for her class­mates. “If we walked out, Florida wouldn’t see how we are sup­port­ing them.”

Thou­sands of stu­dents na­tion­wide walked out of school last week on March 14 in re­sponse to last month’s mas­sacre of 17 stu­dents and adults. Ac­cord­ing to news ac­counts, about 3,000 protests were held na­tion­wide and the protests were made in dif­fer­ent ways. Some stu­dents walked out of school. Demon­stra­tions were held in school gyms or foot­ball fields. Oth­ers de­scended on their state capi­tols.

Bob Echols, Fresh­man Academy prin­ci­pal, said Maecy talked to him about the walk out and his sug­ges­tion was for stu­dents to find some­thing more sup­port­ive to do as a school com­mu­nity. He en­cour­aged her to think about it and come back.

Two or three days later she re­turned with the idea to have stu­dents and teach­ers draw and write say­ings or mes­sages on poster boards and then put that to­gether into one long ban­ner to send to the school in Florida.

“She took it and ran with it,” Echols said.

School of­fi­cials made sure ev­ery­thing writ­ten on the posters was ap­pro­pri­ate to be sent to Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School.

Echols said the Fresh­man Academy had an ac­tive shoot­ing assem­bly on March 14 and held a mo­ment of si­lence to re­mem­ber the stu­dents and adults who died one month ago on Feb. 14. Echols said he also read the names of the 17 vic­tims.

“Most of these were fresh­men, 14- and 15-yearolds,” Echols said. “I told the kids these stu­dents were your age.”

After the assem­bly and lunch, stu­dents in the Fresh­man Academy gath­ered out­side for a group photo dis­play­ing the ban­ner. The ban­ner and group photo will be sent to the Florida school.

Echols said he was proud of the posters the stu­dents cre­ated.

“The kids did a great job. They re­ally gave it some thought. Some went on­line and looked for sup­port­ive say­ings to write. They did some­thing a lit­tle more per­sonal to show their sup­port for the kids in Florida,” he said.

Aryanna Rathe also helped or­ga­nize the project.

“We hope this is en­cour­ag­ing to them to keep push­ing through this to­gether,” Aryanna said.

LYNN KUTTER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Ninth-graders with the Farm­ing­ton Fresh­man Academy dis­play their ban­ner that will be sent to stu­dents at Florida’s Ma­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School. The let­ters can­not be seen in the photo but they say #ms­d­strong. A for­mer stu­dent shot and killed 17...

Some of the artwork and mes­sages cre­ated on a ban­ner sent to con­sole and com­fort stu­dents in Florida.

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