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One year later: Remembering the victims of the Parkland and the survivors who march in their memory

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One year later: Remembering the victims of the Parkland and the survivors who march in their memory

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Grace Walker, Staff Writer

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One year ago this Valentine’s Day, Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. When he exited the building, 17 students and faculty members were dead and another 17 were injured. In the aftermath of this school shooting, less than two months into 2018, a group of Parkland students made names for themselves when they became activists advocating for gun regulation. The following are the teenagers whose passion stemmed from witnessing their friends pass away in their arms:

David Hogg was a 17 year old senior at MSDHS at the time of the shooting. One year later, he is a published author and well known advocate for gun regulation. His book #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line is a New York Times best seller. He speaks to politicians on social media platforms and addresses them indirectly through powerful speeches on national news. Him and his fellow survivors have appeared on many televised talk shows, yet fame is not what they’re after. Hogg tweets daily about gun violence, addressing legislators and catching the attention of the nation. He was accepted to Harvard University, yet is taking a gap year, claiming that he will not rest until they have met their $50,000,000 goal for gun research. One year after Parkland, David Hogg appears unstoppable.

Cameron Kasky was a 17 year old junior at MSDHS at the time of shooting. One year later, he is a known advocate and one of the driving forces behind the March for Our Lives movement. Although the majority of his time at this moment is being taken up by applying for colleges, he is very active on social media, calling out legislators and politicians, reaching out for help on reducing gun violence in schools. He still attends Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Emma Gonzalez was a 18 year old senior at MSDHS at the time of the shooting. One year later, she is one of the most famous advocates that has risen from the Parkland shooting. Her shaved head, red lipstick, and undeniable passion have made her a trademark face in the media. Her speech at the March For Our Lives movement was extremely powerful and caught the attention of multiple politicians. She claims that activism is therapeutic and continues to overcome the adversity of being a teenage activist.

Jaclyn Corin was a junior at the time of the MSDHS shooting. She is known best for leading a student protest in Tallahassee, Florida and for her involvement in Never Again MSD. She encourages people daily to speak out and attract the attention of their congress people as she did. Unlike her fellow advocates, she is not focussing specifically on gun violence in schools. She is also passionate about taking guns from people with criminal records, such as domestic abusers, and she is not afraid to voice her opinions on social media platforms. She is still a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Although many more survivors from the Parkland massacre have made names for themselves, these four are the face of the March for Our Lives and Never Again MSD movements. One year later, not a single Parkland activist has stopped fighting for their cause of choice. As we reflect on the progress these students have made since that fateful day, we remember the victims of the Parkland shooting and reflect on where they would be now:

Alyssa Aaldef was a prominent member of the MSDHS soccer team and would have been a sophomore in 2019 if Nikolas Cruz had not taken her life.

Scott Biegel was a geography teacher who was shot while shielding a group of students into his classroom; he would be 36 this year.

Martin Anguiano would have been a sophomore in 2019.

Nicholas Dworet was a senior and a prominent member of the MSDHS swim team. If he survived the shooting, he would be swimming Division II at the University of Indianapolis.

Aaron Fies would have been 38 this year, and similar to many faculty members who passed that day, he lost his life protecting his students.

Jamie Guttenberg would have been a sophomore this year. She left behind her parents and brother. Chris Hixon was a veteran and served as the Athletic Director for MSDHS; he would’ve turned 50 this year.

Luke Hoyer would be 16 if the shooting had been prevented, and he left behind a very large family.

Cara Loughran would be a sophomore this year and was a prominent member of the Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida and had a promising future in the field.

Gina Montalto was a member of the colorguard team at her high school and would have been a sophomore this year.

Joaquin Oliver was a newly naturalized citizen and would have been a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas this year.

Alaina Petty was a dedicated volunteer for Hurricane Irma victims and would have been a sophomore this year.

Meadow Pollak was 18 at the time of the shooting and was set to study this year at Lynn University in Boca Raton.

Helena Ramsey would have been a senior this year and was known for her bubbly personality.

Alex Schachter was a member of the marching band and orchestra and would have been starting his sophomore year if the shooting had not occurred.

Carmen Schentrup was a National Merit Scholar finalist and would have been 17 this year.

Peter Wang was involved in the ROTC program and would have turned 16 this year.

From the survivors who have made a name for themselves as activists to those who lost their lives at the hands of Nikolas Cruz, Parkland will never be forgotten. However, through all the hell residents of Parkland and victims of other school shootings this year, not much has been changed in the nation’s legislature. A few laws were passed in Florida as a result of the activism shown, yet nothing has been done nationally to avoid more school shootings. Modern schools have top level security systems and guards, and many entry ways in schools are equipped with metal detectors, yet this is not a bulletproof system. Marjory Stoneman Douglas had security guards and alarm systems, yet Nikolas Cruz was still able to enter and take the lives of many people he had gone to school with while he was a student at MSDHS.

One year later, Parkland is a tight knit community still fighting for change. Those who have become activists are working harder than ever and are spurred on by the change they are yet to see. Those who lost their lives remain in the hearts of those they left behind, they are permanent members of the teams they were on before they passed, and their legacies will never be forgotten.

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One year later: Remembering the victims of the Parkland and the survivors who march in their memory