Loyola Students Memorialize Florida School Shooting Victims

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by Lisa Cooper

In the wake of the Parkland, FL, school shooting on Ash Wednesday, Loyola students found themselves hurting and desired a way to honor those who were killed. The art students initiated that effort by creating small cards with inspirational scriptures, quotes, paintings or words of encouragement. These cards adorn the small decorative trees in Loyola’s library and serve as a focal point where students can stop and offer prayers for those who have died and their families.

Art teacher Susan Brady says seeing her students’ need to express themselves in the days after the shooting is what prompted the project. “The kids were scared, and they needed to voice their feelings,” said Brady. “We wanted to create something that would respectfully honor those who were killed.”

Senior Chloe Green participated in the project. She was drawn to the project because “news moves on, but I wanted to be part of something that would help us keep in mind the victims.” Green said that every time she or other students see the trees, they are reminded to pray for the families. “Although the world has moved on,” said Green, “those families still struggle with the loss every day.”

Ella Mason

Echoing that sentiment, sophomore Ella Mason said of the shooting, “It’s important for us to acknowledge that what has happened to the victims in Florida is hard, and while we move on with our lives, we need to show respect and support for those families.”

With this aim in her heart, Mason approached Principal LeBlanc with an idea to honor those killed at a special liturgical service on March 14.
“I had been reading about the planned walkouts across the nation, but knew that wasn’t right for us,” said Mason. “I wanted to participate in a show of support that fits our community here.”

In honor of those who were killed in the Parkland shooting, Loyola students joined Fr. Peter Mangum at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans for the readings of the day and the reading aloud of the names of those who died in the shooting. As each name was read, a bell was rung, and students sat in reverent silence. The service closed with prayer for the souls of the faithfully departed and for comfort for those who remain.

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