Approximately 200 Culver Academies students, faculty, and staff members gathered at 10 a.m., Wednesday, for a special 17-minute ceremony to remember the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Conducted on the snow-covered lawn in front of Eppley Auditorium, the solemn ceremony started with an invocation by Rev. Sam Boys. Jessica Turner ’18 (Evansville, Indiana) read her original poem “17,” which highlighted facts about the shooting and the victims. Sarina McCabe ’18 (South Bend, Indiana) briefly talked about her thoughts and feelings after hearing the news of the shooting. Then student organizers Helen Johnston ’18 (Park City, Utah) and Joseph Chandler ’20 (Indianapolis) read the names and a brief biography of each of the 17 victims as other students, holding candles, stepped toward the Eppley Auditorium portico.
March 14 marked one month since the shooting in Parkland on Valentine’s Day. Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas asked students across the country to join them in a National School Walkout.
The purpose of the Culver event was to bring the community closer together, Johnston said. It is an opportunity to talk, reflect, and bond as a group. Following the ceremony, students could reflect on the ceremony, talk with teachers, or meet with their mentors.
The students did not miss any class time to attend the event. Classes started early on Wednesday to compensate for the event and time for reflection. Participation was voluntary.
Classes resumed at 11 a.m. and unit and dorm meetings were conducted at the normal times.