Citizen, Scholar, Steward

Students hold memorial service for victims of school violence

On Wednesday, March 14, about 250 upper school students left classes for 20 minutes to hold a memorial service in honor of the victims of the Stoneman Douglas and Marshall County shootings. The service was part of the National School Walkout, in which thousands of high school students across the country left class to honor victims and protest gun violence in schools.

“I am proud of the initiative of the students who asked to organize and plan this event,” said Upper School Director Kent Martin. “It was a great display of empathy and unity.”
At KCD, 20 students took turns speaking briefly about each of the victims of the Stoneman Douglas and Marshall County shootings and observed a moment of silence for each. The mood was quiet and respectful, and students returned to regular classes following the 20-minute memorial service.

Senior Jackson Diaz, who was one of the student organizers, offered some reflections on the walkout. “We have been subject to much of the news surrounding the pandemic of violence in our schools for so long without really speaking up about how it made us as students feel,” he said. “This walkout was an opportunity to recognize this tragic set of circumstances that we find ourselves in today and take a stand to say that these mass shootings are unacceptable. Further, I believe that those of us who participated in the walkout felt very deeply that it was a moment in which our community could band together and really reflect on something that seems so distant but really is not.

“Reading the name and story of a victim of the Parkland shooting and feeling that deep sadness of the loss of such innocence and potential really struck a chord with me. My student, Nicholas Dworet, was an athlete like me. He had just received a scholarship to swim in college and he was 17 years old when his light went out: struck by a bullet in the massacre. It felt so much more real as I read aloud his story that, like so many others, ended on February 14th.

“This walkout, in my opinion, was not about pointing fingers. It was not about any one solution to gun violence in schools and otherwise; it was simply a recognition of how horrifying and tragic school shootings really are. It was a powerful first step on the road to making sure that tragedies like this are prevented in the future. I am proud that we stood together as a school, raised our voices, and supported one another in our individual feelings of sadness, horror, and anger.”
    • photo by Jamie Nelson ’20

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Kentucky Country Day School is a private JK–12, coeducational school located on a spacious 85-acre campus in Louisville, KY. KCD combines a rigorous academic program with a wide variety of athletic and extracurricular programs. Our outstanding faculty creates an intimate learning environment that is both challenging and supportive.