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Students walk out in solidarity

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Students gather at Memorial Park to commemorate the seventeen students lost in Parkland, Florida.

Students gather at Memorial Park to commemorate the seventeen students lost in Parkland, Florida.

Gwen McQuaig

Gwen McQuaig

Students gather at Memorial Park to commemorate the seventeen students lost in Parkland, Florida.

Hailey West, Tara Dilly, and Xavier Martinez, Staff Reporter, Staff Reporter, and In-Depth Editor

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On March 14, students, faculty, and community members alike gathered at the WHS track, and later at Memorial Park near downtown Wenatchee, to walkout in support of ending gun violence in schools. Students around the nation left class at 10 a.m. local time for at least 17 minutes – one minute for each person lost in the most recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

The event began with students walking out to the WHS track. Students were met by the ASB officers standing at the top of the bleachers. Marc Hernandez, Senior and ASB president, led the event. Signs that read “not one more” and “g(un) safe” were carried, and memories of lost students echoed throughout the event.

“The importance behind it was to start a conversation for change. That was our main message for the day. And regardless of what that change may be, we wanted to have a place where every student felt they were connected to their peers, because ultimately everyone agrees that something has to change in order to prevent previous events from occurring again,” said Hernandez.

 

Students and faculty were joined by community members who came to the track in support of the walk out. The names of the students and teachers whose lives were lost were remembered with a thirty-second obituary, and a moment of silence was held. After the ceremony was over, students who chose to further participate in the walkout began marching down to Memorial Park.

Students chanted “Enough is enough” as they began to gather at the park. These three words have become the slogan for the fight to end gun violence nationwide.

”Enough. We have seen enough senseless gun violence; we have lived in fear too long. We have buried too many heroes. We demand better,” said the March for our Lives organizers.

The speakers at the event, Chris Danko and Beth Chvilicek, both gave speeches on this issue along with Jillian Danley, Community Outreach Manager at Planned Parenthood, and Kris Cameron, president of the Wenatchee Education Association.

“Our main goal is to start a conversation of change like ASB did with our memorial. And it’s also to just show that yes we’re youth, and yes we may be young, but we can still make a change and still be heard, and we can still make a difference,” said Chvilicek.

Chris Danko spoke as a representative of WHS. “We must look to our similarities and not our differences. In that spirit I do not come forward today with one solution but a call for all of us to discuss our shared solutions in a more productive way. That way is to stay focused on our ultimate goal, keeping our students safe,” said Danko. He talked about looking past our disagreements to find a solution. This was a common theme during the event.

“It’s easy to complain about something without figuring out a solution,” Hernandez said.

The movement March For Our Lives was started immediately following the shooting that took place in Flor. on Feb. 14. According to the March For Our Lives website, the campaign and the people behind it “demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shooting in our schools today.” Before the nationwide walkout took place, students from Parkland stood up against gun violence by speaking with government officials, the National Rifle Association, and just about anyone who will listen. The walkout that took place was in part with the campaign started by the Flor. students.

All of the people who attended and spoke at the event hope that the walkout sparks a change within our community, and nationwide. However, some students disagree with the idea that this event will change anything and chose not to participate.

Walking out shows that we are aware of what’s happening and we are invested in changing our school systems. Disagreeing with what was done without offering an alternative is ineffective because if nothing is done in the first place then everyone will just assume that we are being ignorant about what is happening in our schools,” said Hernandez.

Tens of thousands of students walked out of their schools on March 14 to try and start a change to end gun violence. WHS was just a piece of the puzzle on this day. People have spoke out, and their voices are starting to be heard.

“We know something has to be done and we’re students, this is affecting our lives, this is affecting our safety, so we are going to do something about it,” said Chvilicek.

 

Juniors Sammy Arredondo and Megan McAllister smile with their signs at the Wenatchee High School track.

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Students walk out in solidarity