PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Sunday will mark the third anniversary of the tragedy that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and on Friday, Broward County Public Schools held a moment of silence and a day of service in honor of the 17 victims.
At 10:17 a.m., students, teachers and staff members at different schools respected the moment of silence.
“We will never forget our MSD fallen angels,” BCPS Superintendent Robert Runcie said. “Today, we remind ourselves as adults that we must be examples for what we want to see in our children.”
“We would like to acknowledge the ones that were lost and acknowledge the strength and resiliency of our first responders, our community, our volunteers and government officials with this moment of reflection,” said one student.
Throughout the day, students at BCPS took part in service projects and acts of love in an effort to honor the victims.
Students at Boyd Anderson High School planted a garden and paused for a moment of silence led by senior Marthe Dorcenet, who was at a school dance the day of the shooting.
“You’re just in the middle of dancing and just having fun, and then, all of the sudden, it’s like a shock of panic,” she said.
Coral Springs High School unveiled a mural designed by Josephine Majdoch, who found her inspiration in a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” Majdoch said. “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Parents of the students killed at the Parkland school continue to find ways to turn their deep agony into action and help the community.
“Every day is a struggle,” Max Schachter, whose son, Alex Schachter, was killed in the shooting, said. “Every day is hard. Every day, we eat dinner without Alex, and he’s not in his bed at night. I can’t tuck him in.”
Schachter has since founded safeschoolsforalex.org, a statewide dashboard to reduce school violence.
“I just want something positive to come from this horrible tragedy, so that Alex’s death is not in vain,” he said.
Tony Montalto, who lost his daughter, Gina Montalto, in the shooting, has helped launch Stand with Parkland, which works to promote secure schools and responsible gun ownership. He and his wife also started a scholarship foundation, which, this year, went to nursing students.
“Year three is just as painful as year one,” Montalto said. “We can help replenish the people that were on the frontline of the fight against COVID.”
Manuel Oliver, who lost his son, Joaquin Oliver, in the shooting, uses his art to remember his child. He has helped design “Shamecards,” postcards from cities and states that have suffered from gun violence.
“The idea is that our Congress members will receive these postcards from civilians,” he said.
The community continues to heal from the tragedy at their own speed, including those whose lives were forever changed on Feb. 14, 2018.
“This three-year mark hopefully will help the community heal, but for us, we’re never going to heal,” Schachter said. “It’s the same for us every day.”
Tributes are planned throughout Broward County to remember the three-year anniversary of the shooting on Sunday.
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