Wylie High Honors Victims
As the school bell rang 17 times throughout Wylie High School on March 7, students and staff made their way to the grassy area in front of the school. 17 markers lay in the grass, and one by one they were posted in the ground after students read testimonies in memory of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018. A student said that each of the markers represents a human no longer with us today. One student said that this day marks 21 days in which families have grieved their loved ones as well as 21 days of voices being heard in order to make a difference.
16 Wylie High School students shared descriptions of the people who were killed. One teacher spoke as well. The descriptions given could also be used to describe members of the student body at WHS: A soccer player. A loving daughter. A cross country coach and geography teacher. Earned scholarships. Loved playing video games and eating chicken nuggets. On the winter guard. Loved cooking. Straight A student. Illustrated for a local magazine. Fun loving. 14 years old. Loved Cats. A Senior. Played trombone in the band and orchestra. Vivacious spirit. A daughter.
Aaron Feis, assistant football coach and security guard, was described as a person who held multiple jobs to meet the needs of his family. He was loved by every athlete and student. He died that night after he threw himself in front of students to save their lives during the shooting.
A seventeen year old junior was trying to stack books to shelter her friends during the shooting. She was shot and killed. Her friends described her as always being willing to help, an attitude that was prevalent in her final moments.
Peter Wang, a 15 year old freshman, was shot while holding the door open so students and staff could escape the shooting. He was described, “Like the big brother everyone wished they could have.”
Event organizers, Segen Gilazgi and Meera Sam, are both seniors at WHS. They are members of Youth for Social Justice. This is a school organization which gives students a place to freely express themselves. This group was formed this year and this victim honoring effort was their inaugural event.
Sam said this event is important to her because “this could have been any one of us at any school…it could have been our siblings. We never know when our life is going to be taken. We don’t want to become insensitive to acts like this.”
Regarding her personal feelings of safety at WHS, Gilazgi said, “Our (WHS) environment emphasizes being included. We have the ‘no one sits alone at lunch’ policy. I feel a little less safe (since the shooting in Florida) when I saw how easily it was done. I keep a more watchful eye everywhere, not just at school.” Sam said, “After a tragedy it’s hard to feel safe anywhere. I feel safe at WHS, but kids at Parkland felt safe too.” Gilazgi stressed the importance of being more cautious, “If you see something, say something.”
Wylie High School sold t-shirts and orange ribbons to raise money that will be sent to the fund set up for the families of the victims.