High school is not always known for being the most forgiving place.
“It’s a culture that focuses on superficiality and looks, I mean, that’s a cornerstone stereotype of high school so I think this helps us get together and really connect and build bridges in our community so no one feels alone,” said Dominic Lombardo, a Wayne Central High School student.
As many students across the country took part in a walk-out to protest gun violence, these students at Wayne Central felt it didn’t really get at the heart of the issue.
“You have a kid, you don’t know what they’re going through, to talk to them and to say hi that could change their whole point of view, and it’s nice to see that happened this week,” said Cloie Simpson, a 12th grader.
“I didn’t know if it was going to be a hit or miss but I walked into class and even my teacher was asking me about it, it was super nice,” said Shanna Gorsky, a 10th grader.
Part of why the students say they feel it was such a success was because it wasn’t just aimed at discussing guns, which can often polarize people with different political views, but instead focused on unity.
“It’s crazy to think that the [student in Parkland, Florida] weren’t expecting this and it could really happen anywhere, so to bring awareness to it and bring the community together was really what was important to me,” said Victoria Miller, another senior at Wayne Central.
“It was great to see people coming over to my table and say hi to me that I didn’t know and with a lot of the kids, I didn’t know them but now I do and it was great to see everyone come together as one”
Students at the middle school took part in similar events last week.
“You should feel safe wherever you are and that no one is going to do anything to you, and I know that’s not always the case,” said Eva Bolt, a middle school student at Wayne Central.
At Wayne Central Middle School, this group of 7th and 8th graders on student council got together to figure out how they could show their support for victims of gun violence, while simultaneously making their school a safer and more inclusive place.
“We’re all together and we’re taking actions, even it they’re different actions than other schools are taking we’re still doing it and we’re helping others,” said Marley Hewitt, another middle school student.
Instead of walking out, these students helped organize so-called walk up events, aimed at getting to know one another and show that they’re all in it together.
“We also made a paper chain and we wrote ideas about how to make our school a safer and more inclusive placeand we stapled them together and hung them in the cafeteria to show we’re all linked to making this change happen,” said Gianna Ryndock, a 7th grader.
Principal Derek Demass says while they may be young, they’re mature, especially when it counts.
“They snap into a different mode they can be goofy but this is a sobering topic and they responded accordingly,” said Demass.