Students write letters to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students on the anniversary of the Parkland shooting


Debra Klevens

Stopping on their way into lunch, students write letters for the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Students were given the opportunity to write letters the week of Feb. 4-8. “The goal in doing this is to make the students at Parkland feel love and support as they’re approaching the one year anniversary of this difficult time,” senior Sophie Pellegrino said.

Thursday will mark the one year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL Feb. 14, 2018, a former student opened fire, claiming the lives of 17 students and staff members and injuring 17 more.

In an effort to honor the community on the anniversary of this tragedy, journalism teacher Debra Klevens, along with the Quill and Scroll honors society, asked members of the school community to write letters which they sent to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

“One morning I woke up, because my mind is always thinking of ideas when I can’t sleep, and I was just thinking ‘what is something kind we can do?’” Klevens said. “I am just asking students to write messages of whatever comes from their heart to send to students at Parkland because I feel like, with the anniversary coming up, we all have love to give and it doesn’t cost us anything to show our compassion to others.”

Quill and Scroll members ran a table the week of Feb. 4-8 at both lunches where students could write letters.

“Just because we don’t personally know the students of Parkland, doesn’t mean our words don’t mean anything to them. I hope the impact of this will be that the students of Parkland feel loved and encouraged. I’m hoping they enjoy getting these notes and know that even all the way from St. Louis, Missouri we’re thinking of them and praying for them,” senior Sophie Pellegrino said.

Writing letters to the students in Parkland is an opportunity for students to be activists.

“I hope the impact is that students at our school continue to remember the Parkland students, and people affected by gun violence in general, as well as continue to think about the issue of gun violence and how they can take part in activism,” junior Sabrina Bohn said. “By writing a letter, we are showing that we will not forget what happened and will continue to honor their community.”

Having been inspired by the way Marjory Stoneman Douglas journalism teachers Melissa Falkowski and Sarah Learner have supported their students in the wake of tragedy, Klevens will send the letters to Falkowski and Learner to distribute to students.

“I’m hoping that everyone in the school wrote one,” Klevens said. “I’d rather have a shoebox full than an envelope. I’d love for every student, every teacher, every faculty member, even parents to have made one.”