Notre Dame Prep commemorates Florida school shooting victims

Seventeen members of the Notre Dame Prep community represent the victims killed in the Florida School shooting at a prayer service held March 14 at the school. (Submitted photo)

Notre Dame Preparatory High School students in Scottsdale displayed their traits of reverence, respect and responsibility during a commemorative service marking one-month since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Juniors Jonathan Smart and Amanda Council planned the March 14 event as an alternative to the nationwide walkouts, according to a press release. The school’s gym was set up with 17 chairs, symbolizing each victim of the Feb. 14 shooting.

White candles on a table represented the “light that each victim brought to their families and the school.”

“We wanted to respond, more than just react to the tragedy,” said Mr. Smart in a prepared statement. “More than anything we wanted so show that events that take place far away, impact us here.”

Juniors Jonathan Smart and Amanda Council participate in a moment of silence for the victims and for an end to violence. (Submitted photo)

School members were hand-selected to read a short bio of each victim with whom they shared similar roles and qualities, the press release stated.

For example, Chris Hixon was the athletic director of Stoneman Douglas High School, so NDP athletic director Mark Cisterna read his bio and lit a candle in Mr. Hixon’s memory.

After each name was read and a candle lit, the representative walked out of the gym until all 17 chairs were empty.
“Imagine if that tragedy happened here and we never got to see those people again,” Jonathan told more than 1,000 people in the silent gym.

When the moment of silence was over, NDP Principal Jill Platt, spoke to the students about taking responsibility for one another. She encouraged students to invite a lonely or new student to eat lunch with them.

“Put your phone’s down and look in to the eyes of your fellow students and ask if they are okay,” she said. “You may be the miracle they are looking for.”

Next year, Notre Dame Preparatory is implementing a “house system” similar to Hogwarts, the school in the Harry Potter series, the release stated, adding that the plan for the house system came before the Stoneman Douglas High School incident.

“We want to create an environment where every student feels that he or she belongs the second they step foot onto campus,” Mr. Smart said. “But that tragedy confirmed in my mind the need to create a nurturing, family-like environment in hopes that events like what happened in Florida, never happen again.”

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