Aleigha Warren ‘18: I’ve never took a step in someone else’s shoes. I haven’t walked their path, fought their battles or bled their pain. I can’t seep into their clandestine darkness, or feel the warmth of their luminescence. I can only seek what they want me to receive, and sometimes that isn’t enough. But what is considered enough? Because if you offer a child a handful of jelly beans, they’ll proceed to ask for more. So enough is just simply never enough.
We never do enough.
We never strive to better our diet. We never study that extra hour just to steady our grades. We never take notice to the things surrounding us, the other lives that rotate around the Earth just as ours.
Why? Is it fear?
Fear is inevitable. Fear is the automated phone call that never stops calling. If we take one step out of the isolated bubble we put ourselves into it, it’s as if an angry mob will come after us.
I took a step out of that bubble this year. There is no angry mob, I promise.
But since we are surrounded by the bubble that we call our life, we forget to notice that there are things outside of the film. Some positive, some negative. And most of the time we are reached through the negative.
On February 14, 2018, we lost the lives of seventeen innocent bystanders. Most were my age, people who had their whole life ahead of them. A parent’s worst nightmare, burying their child underneath the raw dirt in a beautiful casket that was ordered much too early, surrounded by a colorful arrangement of strongly scented flowers to cover the tears of the broken hearted.
If we had broke our bubbles, stepped out for some fresh air or walked the shoes of many others, we could have seen the glaring red flags that swam in the sky. But all we caught was the glaring red on the floors. If we had just opened our eyes, maybe even for a second, we could have caught the monster that attacked the soft target.
We need to stand for battle, and use our hearts as our weapons. Since the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, there has been approximately 1,607 mass shootings. Roughly, 1,846 people were killed and about 6,000 people were wounded. Why hasn’t anything changed in the last six years? We’ve had these years to think about ways to change our world for the better, and we’ve waited. What are we waiting for? It’s like we’re waiting for someone else to lead, someone else to lead our team into battle.
If you’re reading this, you’re our sovereign. Make a change, even if its compact.
We have the voice if we work together. We have the strength when our fists are connected. We have the power to speak up when we no longer feel safe in our school environment, and we no longer feel safe. We feel as if we are plowed over into the dust of the field, without a plan of escape from the rough dirt beneath our cheeks. We lost lives before we realized we were affecting ours as well.
In honor of the seventeen who passed away; we must break our bubbles, take a deep breath and raise our colorful flags of equality and justice as we stand together to finally supply a brighter future.
Alyssa Alhadeff: Fourteen years, that’s how much time she had in this world, with her friends, family, and her community. Alyssa was a part of the Parkland soccer club, where the absence of her presence will be a constant reminder, that she is gone too soon.
Scott Beigel: A geography teacher and a cross-country coach, passed away at the age of thirty-five after saving the lives of students by allowing them access into closed doors. Scott will be remembered as a hero and an inspiration for surviving students.
Martin Dugue Anguiano: A freshman who was outgoing, funny and loved very much by his older brother. Martin was extremely sweet and caring, while his family loved him very much.
Nicholas Dworet: A senior with a plan for an ambitious future that included the Olympics. He was accepted into the University of Indianapolis, earning a scholarship as well. “He was known as the “swim daddy” for the way he helped teammates train and practiced. Everybody loved him,” said Andre Bailey, the head coach at Dworet’s swim club.
Aaron Feis: The man who took a bullet to save the students that walked the same halls he did back in 1999. He was an assistant football coach and the school’s security, and many students looked up to him. He died as a hero, risking his lives for others.
Jamie Guttenberg: A feisty and an intelligent fourteen year old, who dreamed of becoming a mother and an occupational therapist. She was always smiling, while her soul remained compassionate and sensitive. Her parents are devastated for they have lost their single daughter.
Chris Hixon: A football coach and athletic director that rushed to the “scene immediately,” said the school’s head football coach. He loved coaching the wrestling team and his students looked up to him greatly. “He had a great sense of humor, always making everyone laugh,” said Willis May Jr. In 2017, Chris was awarded with Athletic Director of the year because he’d do anything for his students.
Luke Hoyer: “A big hearted basketball player and a huge NBA fan,” said Grant Cox, Hoyer’s cousin. At just the age of fifteen, Luke lost his life. Coming from a family of five, Luke was the youngest of three children. He loved his family dearly. A happy but quiet person, Luke will be missed.
Cara Loughran: A girl who loved the beach, and the sun on her skin. At fourteen years old, she unfortunately lost her life and her family is extremely devastated. Her aunt, Lindsay Fontana said “While your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to do something. This should not have happened to our niece Cara and it cannot happen to other people’s families.”
Gina Montalto: A flag twirling and jumping member of her school marching bands winterguard. She was fourteen with a bright smile that brightened each room she encountered. Gina was loving, smart and caring. She will forever be remembered amongst her winterguard team.
Joaquin Oliver: Originally born in Venezuela, Joaquin moved to the U.S when he was three. He played basketball in the city recreation league and had a love for writing poetry.
Alaina Petty: A vibrant and determined young woman, solemnly lost at the age of fourteen. She was a well respected member of her church and helped with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Hurricane Irma cleanup.
Meadow Pollack: A senior with the future of attending Lynn University. She was beautiful inside and out, the youngest of her immediate family and ten grandchildren. At just eighteen years old, she lost her strive towards the future.
Helena Ramsey: Smart, thoughtful and kind hearted. She was deeply loved by others but expressed love for others even more. The seventeen year old strived for good academics and planned to go to college once she graduated.
Alex Schachter: The fourteen year old played the trombone proudly in the schools marching band. Alex was a “sweetheart” and “just wanted to make his parents proud and happy,” said Schachter’s father.
Carmen Schentrup: An outstanding sixteen year old that received the letter of being awarded a National Merit scholarship the day after she passed. She never was able to receive the big news. She was the kind of person that could change the world.
Peter Wang: The fifteen year old saved the lives of others as he held the door open for other students to escape. He and his family were preparing for the Chinese New Year the following day. He was loved very much.
The Women’s March Youth EMPOWER organized a national student walkout in honor to represent the seventeen lives lost in the Parkland massacre. Seventeen minutes for seventeen lives on March 14, at 10 a.m. The Women’s March is encouraging others to take a stand, instead of sending our words through our screens. Romeo High School will be participating in the Women’s March Youth National Student Walk-Out. #ENOUGH
RSVP to our school walk-out: https://actionnetwork.org/events/neveragain