ND’s Rallying Cry
By: Andrea Karkafi ‘19
On February 14, 2018, hundreds of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ran for their lives through the long hallways and classrooms when they heard gunshots, killing seventeen of their fellow students and teachers.
According to CNN, gun violence has been increasing drastically this year, with 14 school shootings in the first three months of 2018.
On Wednesday, March 14, students from Maine to California walked out of class to demand further gun control to prevent future mass shootings. Middle schools, high schools, and even colleges participated in the 17 minute walkout. Each minute of the protest honored each of the 17 individuals who lost their lives.
Each participant had a unique method of protest; some marched around the perimeter of their school chanting, while others read out the names of each victim while congregating in classrooms around 17 empty desks.
While students all throughout the country walked out of school in a loud protest for gun control, Notre Dame’s students decided to take a different approach.
The students of Notre Dame High School demonstrated their unity during the protest. At 10:00 a.m., students gathered on the baseball field for 17 minutes of silence in protest of the gun violence occurring throughout the nation. While most of the students participated, they were also given the opportunity to respectfully remain in the quad.
After the 17 minute walkout, the student body and teachers assembled in the quad, where a 17 minute prayer service was held. Choir sang beautiful songs in memory of the victims, including “Shine”, a song written by two students who witnessed the tragedy. During the service, members of Christian Leadership announced the names of the victims and lit a candle for each one.
Senior Bridget Gehan, a Christian leader, believes that the silent protest was more powerful than the prayer service. However, the service “had a very powerful effect, in that we were giving our thoughts and prayers, where prayers are the most significant thing we can offer. During the service, there was a uniting force that brought students together despite their differences,” states Gehan.
In addition to the protests and prayer taken by the pupils at Notre Dame, they were also given the opportunity to sign a banner to send to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Names, addresses, and numbers of local representatives were provided to allow the students to call and express their concerns and encourage leaders to pass legislation in order to prevent future school shootings.
Through protest and prayer, students nationwide hope that gun violence will end and peace will be spread throughout the country.