I know there may be strong opinions on the slice I'm about to write, but I hope everyone can appreciate it for the positivity and awareness this moment created for me and my school.

At 9:50 this morning, our principal made the announcement that we would be honoring the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Our teachers anticipated this moment all week. Our administration team spent hours preparing a beautiful timed slideshow to honor each of the 17 victims, with slides at the end to help students reflect about how we could make a difference here at our school.

As I prepared the room by turning out the lights and closing the window shades, a few 7th grade students came up and asked if they could participate in the walkout. I made sure they knew that it was their choice.

As a school, though, we decided we would be stopping regular instruction at 10:00 a.m. to honor the victims in a meaningful way inside of our classrooms to support all students, whether they chose to walk or not. 

Students who originally planned on walking out decided to stay, I believe, because of the overwhelming feeling of power and voice that began filling the room as each of the victims' faces appeared along with details that made them real.

The last thing Alyssa Alhadeff said to her mom was, "I love you, too."

Luke Hoyer got a Valentine's Day card and chocolates from his mom that morning. 

Cara Loughran was looking forward to driving and getting her learner's permit on February 21st.

Meadow Pollack planned to attend Lynn University in the fall to stay close to her parents, friends, and two big brothers.

And so on.

I watched as one of my most troubling of troublemakers sat transfixed with eyes on the screen, sniffling, tears filling his eyes and sliding down his face.  

As the last notes of the song "One More Light" by Linkin Park faded, we had students reflect and discuss what we could do here to honor our friends at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. They anonymously wrote down anyone they know who needs help, and what they can do to help. We made them aware of all of the amazing resources we have available to help them stay safe.

Here's the song from our tribute that's been looping through my head all day:

I had a student come up to me at the end of class and unexpectedly say, "That slideshow got me. It made me think about how that person could be my friend or someone in my family." 

I understand and agree with many of the multifaceted perspectives surrounding this day in schools and what the walkout represents, but I also know that my students and I shared a beautiful moment in our classroom at 10:00 a.m. 


  1. That sounds like a very meaningful way to help students focus on those students whose lives were taken and honor them and think of their family and friends.

  2. I don't think you need to make any apologies for teaching compassion to your students.
    Thank you for sharing these 17 minutes at your school with us, too. Beautiful post.

  3. Thank you for this. A picture of a school where students were given the space and time to try and make sense of it all, and to appreciate the true human cost of a tragedy that can seem too far removed from them to be reality. I wish that our school had done something like this. Instead we chose to pretty much ignore it. I am feeling really discouraged. Your post gave me some hope. Thank you.

  4. What a beautiful display of unity and courage! Your students will remember this all their lives, and see themselves as changemakers. Bravo!

  5. Ugh. These slices about this today. I am one of your weepy young troublemakers right now. Excellent snapshot of this moment. You captured it so well. Thank you.

  6. I really appreciate that your district decided to honor and protect the right of students to peacefully protest. I wonder why so many schools chose to ignore--and what message that sends to students about our commitments and values. The tribute sounds very emotional.

  7. Thanks for sharing. What a great way to honor those students and for the students to connect with them during the presentation. I am sure it had a big impact on the students.

  8. I love hearing about what students around the country did. What a wonderful way to honor those. I also like how your administration decided to stop instruction and give kids a voice.


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