PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has not been shy in his support for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims, and on Wednesday morning, he paid a visit to the school in Parkland, where 17 victims lost their lives.
Stoneman Douglas students shared Wade’s visit on social media, with one student saying, “D WADE JUST CAME TO DOUG.”
Cellphone video posted to social media showed the shooting guard smiling and waving as he made his way down a school hallway.
“He showed up, and it was like a whole mosh pit,” said Stoneman Douglas junior Olivia Prochilo. “Everyone surrounded him.”
“He lit up the whole school,” said junior Cooper Brockway. “He made everyone happy. Everyone was cheering.”
“It was exciting,” said another student. “It was a normal luncheon, and he came, and everyone was super excited and happy for the rest of the day.”
Student Joey Pelose said this was the greatest moment of his life.
The NBA pro met with students and teachers. Broward County Public School Superintendent Robert Runcie posted several photographs capturing the player posing with students, and in one picture, sitting at a table as he listened to a group of students.
“He was talking to us about how we have to stay strong,” said Brockway.
“He gave a speech saying, like, this is what he wanted, for us to come together and to get our voices out,” said Prochilo.
“Thank you for all the love. I appreciate it so much,” Wade is heard saying in cellphone video of his speech.
The star player took the time to meet as many students as possible. Earlier in the day, he tweeted about his visit.
“It’s crazy. It was amazing, the support that we’re getting from everyone across the nation and the world,” said Brockway.
In his speech, Wade said, “I just wanted to come and say I’m inspired.”
Wednesday marks three weeks since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the school. Besides the 17 students and staff who lost their lives, more than a dozen others were injured.
Wade became attached to the news surrounding the mass shooting after Joaquin Oliver, one of the fatalities, was buried in a Miami Heat jersey bearing Wade’s name and number. Since then, Wade has written Oliver’s name on his shoes and even hit a game-winning shot, which he dedicated to Oliver and his family.
Dr. Rosalind Osgood, a member of the Broward School Board, said Wade’s visit brought much-needed comfort to a community that’s still healing. “It was very therapeutic for them to engage with Dwyane Wade,” she said.
The visit wasn’t just a meet and greet but also a chance to build a relationship. School officials said Wade plans to return to support these students and their fight to prevent another mass shooting.
“Seeing how he can support the march in Washington, seeing how he can support the events that they have planned for the future,” said Osgood.
Students said the more publicity they can get for their planned march in the nation’s capital on March 24, the bigger change they think they will help effect. They also hope Wade will join them for the march and that he will bring some other Heat players along with him.
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