On Wednesday, March 14th students around the country participated in National Walkout Day in response to the school shooting one month earlier in Parkland, FL, and as a call for stricter gun-control laws.
Student leaders at Oakland Catholic High School recognized the importance of the day, and chose to use it as a platform for further discussion across the student body about the issues at play. They adopted the approach: "Commemorate, Educate, and Act."
During the 10 AM timeframe when students across the nation were asked to walk out of school for 17 minutes of silence, students at Oakland Catholic held a prayer service to remember those that lost their lives in Florida a month earlier. 17 students and faculty members read a bio of each of the victims of the Parkland tragedy, and lit a candle for each person. The candles were moved to the chapel, where they stayed lit for the remainder of the day.
Students made presentations throughout the morning to their fellow students on some of the bigger issues surrounding shootings such as the one that occurred in Parkland. Topics such as gun violence and mental health were discussed. The goal was to create conversation among students, who unfortunately have seen events like this happen to their peers far too frequently in their young lives.
Students were still given constructive ways to protest, which is what the National Walkout Day was ultimately about. Students were given the opportunity to register to vote, or write to their legislators as actionable ways to urge for stricter gun-control laws.
Although the mood was somber, the approach by students to take a multifaceted approach to the topic was constructive and created an informed conversation. If our students continue to demonstrate the same thoughtful outlooks to today's major issues as they did on March 14th, there is a hope that they can make the future world a much better place.