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EHS students stand in solidarity with Parkland, Fla., students

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The message of Wednesday's walkout was to show support

By Deb Hurley Brobst

Solidarity.

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That was the reason why about 400 Evergreen High School students gathered on the school’s football field at 10 a.m. Wednesday for 17 minutes. They wanted to show their support for the school community at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

For 17 minutes — symbolizing the 14 students and three teachers who were killed by a gunman on Feb. 14 — the EHS students heard short biographies of those who died, had a moment of silence, then formed a heart with a banner in the middle that said, “Evergreen stands with Stoneman Douglas.”

One of many in the country, the student walkout was planned by EHS students.

Freshman Oonagh Lakings, who helped organize the event, said she wanted EHS students to connect to the students in Parkland.

“They are not so different from us,” she said the day after the walkout. “We wanted to make it more real and close to home.”

Senior class co-president Tom Biasi, also an organizer, added: “We feel their pain.”

EHS students were asked to wear red and gray — the Stoneman Douglas school colors — to show support.

During the walkout, student leaders talked with their classmates about spreading kindness everyday, not on special occasions.

Several parents and grandparents stood with signs along the school fence on Buffalo Park Road in support of the students. The Jeffco school district did not allow adults to participate in the event.

Baylee Gaylan-Browne, senior class co-president, said organizers of the student walkout had no idea how many students would participate.

After the bell rang to signal students could leave for the football field, “The students started coming down the stairs, and they kept coming. It was exciting that they decided to participate,” Gaylan-Browne said.

Student body president Sydney Stewart was happy to have an opportunity to organize such an event, and was grateful that the school district and the administration allowed the walkout.

The organizers said as they read short biographies of those who died, students on the football field became quiet.

“You could feel the grief (from the EHS students),” Biasi said. “It was a moment of sadness. They were absolutely silent.”

Stewart added: “It made you think about your situation. It put you in the shoes of (Parkland) high school.”

The student organizers agreed that school shootings needed to stop.

“Any number (of students killed in school),” Lakings said, “is too much.”

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.comor 303-350-1041