At a special upper school (grades 6-8) Chapel on March 14, 17 candles were lit for the 17 students and teachers who died in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, in February. Rev. Arden Strasser presided, and six eighth graders shared own reflections aloud—through poetry, stories, and calls to action.
“We find ourselves in a broken world—a world in which hurting people hurt other people," Rev. Strasser said.
"Some older kids were so despairing that they told me that our ‘thoughts and prayers’ are not enough anymore. So, some eighth graders are reading their thoughts and ideas to us this morning.”
One eighth grader read a poem she had written, which concluded, "Together we will rise up rise up and rekindle the flame, in hopes that young lives won't be taken again."
Another said, "Imagine being one of the kids who experienced [a school shooting]. It is scary. Luckily, we have great security at this school. But this isn't about us. It is unjust that this happens to people, especially kids."
Another simply said, "Never let this happen again. Save children and childhoods."
The students plan to send their statements to their elected officials.
The service concluded with prayers for those who died, the survivors, and their loved ones; first responders and medical professionals; the mentally ill and those who resort to violence; for elected officials and all those who have the power to make change; and for St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's and all schools.
As students and faculty processed out, Rev. Strasser invited each one to touch the altar in recognition and remembrance of the victims.