Northwest HS students honor Parkland victims, call for unity

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — While the majority of students who joined the walkout movement physically walked out of school, students at a high school in Jackson County made their voices heard in a different way.

Since the events Wednesday aimed to make schools safer, students at Northwest High School decided to keep the event inside so they stayed secure. They formed a group to help make the school a better place, and their message is one of unity.

The event started with students filing out into the hallway, bowing their heads as the names of the victims in the Parkland school shooting were read. Student Eve Vicary read the names over the school’s intercom. 

“That was so heavy,” she said. “Finding the people, looking at their pictures, finding out how old they were, who they were, it really put it into perspective.”

Students also praised the movement started by Marjory Stoneman Douglas students.

“The students in parkland are so inspiring. Going through a tragedy like that is very difficult to handle, and they stepped up, and they did not find their voice, they used their voices,” Meredith Berry said. “And in a moment, they chose not to be weak, but they chose to be strong.”

As the students honored the lives lost, they made it clear that their message was about people, not politics.

Northwest Community Schools tribute to Parkland, FL. victims

Students at Northwest High School discuss their tribute to the victims of the shooting in Parkland, FL. WLNS-TV Northwest Community Schools

Posted by WLNS Aaron Jordan on Wednesday, March 14, 2018

“In the past, everything has been so divided. It’s been liberal, conservative. It’s been pro-gun, anti-gun,” Vicary said. “That’s not what this is about. It’s about the people involved and how we can make schools feel safer and how we can ensure this will never happen again.”

The students preached a message of unity and love.

“I think we’re trying to push less hate, more love,” Berry said. We don’t want arguments, we want everyone to just communicate and love each other.”

The students plan to keep working together to bring positive change. They’ve also come up with a phrase: “What’s Your 17?” They said the phrase honors the Parkland victims, and also encourages other students to come up with 17 ways to make the school a better place.

“Open ear, open mind, open heart. That’s honestly the biggest thing,” student Emily Simone said. “It’s as simple as saying ‘hi’ to someone in the hallway you’ve never seen before. Just go out of your way to listen to them, and you’d be surprised at the impact that can have on people”

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