HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - The son of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim found a way to honor his father.
Thomas Hixon returned to his Alma Mater on Tuesday, hoping to encourage students to have courage just like his father.
Students at South Broward High School spent their morning outside of the classroom, working to cleanup the school’s reading garden to transform it into an outdoor classroom.
The project was created in honor of former athletic director Chris Hixon, who was killed trying to disarm the Parkland shooter on Feb. 14, 2018.
The day of service at the high school started with his son stressing the importance of character and stepping up to be a steward of the community.
“I feel like it’s a very powerful thing. Even if it’s just pulling weeds or painting the walls,” said student Aaliyah Johnson. “I think it symbolizes a new beginning. We’re not going to dwell on the sadness, dwell on the past. We’re going to build up a new garden, paint and come together as a school.”
Although Hixon is an alumni and some students may not know him, he said he hopes they will be inspired by his father’s legacy, just like he has been.
“You don’t have to be successful in the sense of being a CEO of a company or making $200,000 a year,” said Hixon. “He was just successful in the fact that he helped children every day. As an athletic director he used sports as an outlet to really kind of teach kids life lessons like teaching them about comradery, teamwork, perseverance. You get knocked down, you get right back up.”
Hixon’s wife still teaches at South Broward High School.
The project that the students began working on is expected to be completed by May.
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