Honoring the Victims of Parkland’s School Shooting
After another devastating school shooting, we are forced to say goodbye and commemorate those who were lost.
On Wednesday morning, Parkland, Florida experienced their deadliest event in its history. A former student made his way onto the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 victims while injuring dozens of others.
Among the 17 victims, ranging from teenagers to staff members, each one is remembered after this senseless massacre occurring on Valentine’s Day. Some were just starting out as 14-year old freshmen, such as Alex Schachter who has had a scholarship fund created in his honor via GoFundMe.
The faces below are the 17 victims that have been confirmed dead at the hands of the school shooter.
Alex’s family stated on the page that “He was a sweetheart of a kid!” and “survived by his heartbroken parents, three siblings, grandparents and countless cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.”
Alyssa was a member of the school’s Parkland Soccer Club, who wrote a tribute to her in a Facebook post. “Alyssa Alhadeff was a loved and well-respected member of our club and community. Alyssa will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all the other victims of this tragic event,” the post described.
Nicholas’ family said that he “dreamed of making the Olympic swim team and going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo” and that “he believed he could accomplish anything as long as he tried his best.”
“My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school. We lost our daughter and my son Jesse Guttenberg lost his sister. I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family get’s through this,” Fred wrote in a Facebook post.
Martin was described as “a very funny kid, outgoing and sometimes really quiet,” in a description posted by his older brother, Miguel, on GoFundMe.
Luke was described as a “good kid” who “never got in trouble” by his grandparents, who live in South Carolina.
“This morning, I had to tell my 8-year-old daughters that their sweet cousin Cara was killed in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School yesterday. We are absolutely gutted,” Cara’s aunt, Lindsay Fontana wrote in a Facebook post. “While your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to DO SOMETHING. This should not have happened to our niece Cara and it can not happen to other people’s families.”
Gina’s family described her as a hardworking student with a keen sense of humor who “melted each heart with an infectious smile that light up a room.”
“She was a kind spirit, always eager to lend a helping hand,” the family said in a statement. “Gina will be missed not only by her family, but by everyone whose life she touched.”
Joaquin was a hip hop and sports lover who became a naturalized American citizen in January 2017, after moving to the United States from Venezuela at the age of 3, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Alaina’s family made a statement via the Latter-day Saints Living publication. “It is important to sum up all that Alaina was and meant to her family and friends,” the statement said. “Alaina was a vibrant and determined young woman, loved by all who knew her. Alaina loved to serve.”
Meadow’s cousin, Jake Maisner, stated that Meadow was the youngest member of her family and enjoyed spending time with her family, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Peter was a JROTC member at Douglas. His cousin, Aaron Chen, told the Miami Herald that he was last seen wearing his uniform and holding the door open so that people could escape. He also stated that Peter planned on celebrating the Chinese New Year with his family.
Helena’s relative, Curtis Page Jr., posted on Facebook that Helena was “a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person. She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her. She was so brilliant and witty, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone.”
Carmen was named one of 53 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists in the county. According to The Eagle Eye, the school’s student-run news magazine,she was one of 10 Douglas students to qualify as a semifinalist,
Among those lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, three of those slaughtered were staff members including Geography teacher Beigel, athletic director Hixon, and football coach Feis.
The tales of these brave men continue to be repeated. Teacher Scott Beigel, 35, was said to have opened the door to let Kelsey Friend and other students into his classroom, Friend recalled during an emotional interview on ABC’s Good Morning America. Following his actions, Beigel tried to re-lock the door, but it was too late because the gunman walked by and shot him dead.
Scott was one of several adults at the school who died protecting students from streams of gunfire.
“Coach Hixon, for me, was a father figure,” said Douglas wrestler Karlos Valentin, a senior heavyweight. ”We were pretty much with him six days a week – three-to-four-to-five hours. His loss was just terrible.”
Feis died while using his body to shield students from bullets as the gunman opened fire.
Rest in peace to the 17 victims. Let’s pray and hope that policy changes occur to make sure that a senseless act like this never happens again.