SAVHS students join walkouts, hold Parkland vigil

Solomon Gustavo photos • St. Anthony Village High School students joined students nationwide in walking out of school March 14 to recognize the 17 students killed during the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Lily Vanner, bottom right with the megaphone, said the name of each Parkland victim, followed by a minute of silence.

Students wrote their thoughts on pieces of paper before the silent vigil.

Junior Emma Friend and seniors Natalie Spotts, Lily Vanner and April Dexter stood in the front office of St. Anthony Village High School a little before 10 a.m. on March 14, waiting for the right time to make an announcement over the loudspeaker to the rest of the student body. 

Dexter, who said the school administration strongly supported them, took the PA receiver from the receptionist and said the walkout and vigil was beginning and that student absences would be excused. 

The four then headed out the door and formed a line welcoming walkouts with paper and writing utensils to write their thoughts before the silent vigil. 

Slowly, in small groups, with one student holding a placard that read “Enough,” another holding one that said “We are the future; protect us,” students walked out of the school. In total, more than 100 students pooled near the drop-off area in front of the school.

Students were given a little time to write before the silent vigil began. For the vigil, Vanner, equipped with a megaphone, said the name of a Parkland school shooting victim and then students stood in silence for a minute. After the vigil, students and school staff went back inside. 

A few St. Anthony Villagers for Community Action members were in attendance, some holding sings. Teachers and administrators stood in the crowd and at its outskirts. St. Anthony-New Brighton ISD 282 Superintendent Bob Laney stood at the 33rd Avenue entrance of the school, blocking cars from driving in and disrupting the vigil. ‘I was very impressed with their attitude,” said Laney after.

“I thought we’d get a quarter of the kids we got today,” said Friend, who, along with the rest of the organizers, felt the day was a success. 

Not much can be done as individuals, said Spotts, but “a group of people together can do something.”


— Solomon Gustavo

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