Standing Together at Reynolds High
Standing Together at Reynolds High
Posted on 03/16/2018
Reynolds students gathered for a purposeful time of reflection in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy.By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Department

The mood was somber as hundreds of A.C. Reynolds High School students gathered for a purposeful time of reflection in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy. The student-led program was focused on honoring the victims and their families, and promoted friendship and peace.

With assistance from school staff, student leaders used the intercom to invite their classmates to exit their classrooms and meet in common areas or the courtyard for 17 minutes of silence. Students then came together and held hands, bowed their heads, or closed their eyes respectfully while the names of the 17 victims were heard echoing through the hallways, along with a brief description of their lives. Some students chose to reflect on their own, or spend time with a friend or school counselor.

“Today’s program meant a lot to me personally,” explained Reynolds’ student body president Matthew Kennedy, who led the time of reflection, as 17 of his classmates and teachers each took a turn speaking into the microphone. “It proved to me that we can come together and support the simple message of unity in our school and in our community. It’s important to remember that we’re all going through something and that we should do our best to be kind and loving to all students and faculty in our school, in order to prevent such tragedies from happening again.”

Students reflect as the names of the fallen are read aloud.Leading up to this week’s event, one male student who wished to remain anonymous spent time getting to know the family of the Douglas High victim he would announce during the reflection time. Through their respective schools, the Reynolds student sent a letter and photo of himself to the family and made a meaningful connection, learning more about the Douglas student and their shared love of swimming.

“I hope we can remember the victims, and reflect on the unity and positive change we’re seeing at our school,” said the Reynolds student.

Throughout the school’s corridors, colorful origami-styled paper cranes hung in rows, an expression of care created by a group of artistic students. As Kennedy explained through the intercom, these displays were based on a story about a young Japanese girl battling leukemia, who believed a legend that creating 1,000 paper cranes would grant her any wish — one that she ultimately made for world peace. Students shared that wish as they gazed up at the beautiful cranes while the names were read aloud.

“Some of the most touching moments of this school year happened in those 17 minutes,” explained Reynolds’ principal Ms. Doris Sellers. “To see student leaders plan this time with the victims and survivors as the primary focus from start to finish showed me the depth of compassion our students have.”

After each name was read and tears were wiped away, Matthew once again spoke to his classmates, reminding them of the importance of showing kindness to others, and standing together to end violence.

“Reynolds High School stands in solidarity with the 17 victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the 32 victims of the Virginia Tech shooting, the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the 13 victims of the Columbine High School shooting, as well as all victims of school shootings and other senseless acts of violence. As a school and as a family, we must practice friendship in the classroom and unity in our community. Remember, see something, hear something, say something,” he said.
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