PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - On the second heart-wrenching anniversary of the Parkland shooting, a moment of silence was held in honor of the 17 victims who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
District officials said out of the 3,200 students who attend school at MSD, only 500 are expected to show up on this somber Friday.
“There’s no way to explain it,” said MSD student Kalebe Taborda. “It’s hard to explain the feeling that you get when you walk into school.”
“I feel better rather, staying here than being at home,” said MSD student Alex Duong.
Several people came to pay their respects at the Project Grow Love garden outside of the school.
“It’s an experience because, I myself, lost a couple of friends too, so it is a little hard,” said MSD student Carlos Vigil.
Some students weren’t at MSD at the time of the shooting, but they still feel the impact of the tragedy.
“I wasn’t here for the incident, I was only in seventh grade, so I feel that instead of me staying at home I should help out with the people that helped out during the shooting,” said an MSD student.
As part of the school district’s day of service, a breakfast was held at MSD for first responders. Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony was in attendance.
“It was difficult to come and see all these young folks giving us applause and saying ‘Thank you for your services,’ understanding that not too long ago we came up short,” Tony said.
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie was also in attendance, speaking about some of what the district has done since that tragic day.
“The entire Broward County Public Schools family and community has come together to honor the lives of the 17 that we lost, and the many others who were injured on this day two years ago,” said Runcie. “We’ve invested over $100 million in safety and security measures, including adding thousands of additional video surveillance cameras.”
“We have to continue to safeguard this community and continue to heal together,” Tony said.
Members of the community have declared Feb. 14 a day of service and love where students and staff give back to their schools by participating in landscaping, painting and other art projects.
Valentine’s Day now means something entirely different to Broward County students than those in other school districts.
Students at Cypress Bay High School in Weston could be seen gathering together to take part in the moment of silence held at 10:17 a.m.
“I feel like I went from more, like, being scared to now just, like, trying to spread awareness,” Cypress Bay HS student Mackenzie Parchment said.
“And I was afraid to come to school,” Cypress Bay HS student Andrea Sojo said.
They also spent their morning putting together toys for the Humane Society as well as meals for a hunger program.
“It brings this sense of joy that people are trying to help them and that we’re here for them, although they don’t know who we are, but we’re here for them,” Cypress Bay HS student Nicholas Gitterle said.
“It’s a sad day, so how do we honor them?” Cypress Bay HS student government advisor Danielle Nascimento. “I think that everyone’s kind of coming together to say that the best way to honor them is to give back and to help and to really push the value of kindness.”
7News cameras also captured heavy hearts in Miami-Dade, as students from William H. Turner Technical Arts High School gathered outside for a balloon release in honor of the victims.
The exact time for the moment of silence was chosen to be held at 10 a.m. since all schools would be in session, and 17 minutes past the hour to honor each of the victims.
The families of the 17 students and educators at MSD have also honored them by starting foundations in their names and giving back to causes that mattered to them.
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