Mr. Pratt initiated the second period assembly, citing the school’s stance in support of our students’ civil engagement. The student-led event was framed within the safety of an assembly and a moment of silence.
Mr. Thomas Wiebe, the first speaker, emphasized the power teenagers have had throughout history—how teens have led battles and social causes many times before. He also shared a personal experience of a shooting on 21 May 1998 in his hometown of Oregon, where a freshman in High School, Kip Kinkel got expelled from school and then shot 29 people at Thurston High School. Though somewhat jaded by the constant shootings thereafter, Mr. Wiebe noted something has changed after this most recent shooting: teenagers are flexing their transformative power to make a statement that “Never Again” is a possibility.
Senior Savannah Bedjakian then shared a video revealing how accessible guns can be: how in one instance, a thirteen-year-old boy struggled to buy alcohol and lottery tickets, but easily purchased a gun at a gunshow. Bedjakian also shared statistics and various speeches to fully portray the need for more sensible gun control.
Sophomore Joseph Atme presented his views regarding the shooting, focusing on sophomore Peter Wang and football coach Aaron Feis, heroes who died saving lives on that fated day. ROTC recruit Wang was shot dead while holding a door open for his classmates to reach the safety of a classroom; he is now buried with military honors. Coach Feis took bullets while sheltering children with his own body; he passed away in the hospital. Atme finished by affirming that although adults might think teenagers are immature, selfish, and not trustworthy, they can be the ones to help prevent gun violence and make schools safer.
To end the event, Spartans assembled on the quad outside, forming one big circle while holding hands and listening to a prayer led by Father Nerses Hayrapetyan. Students fundraised to support the national event by selling doughnuts for $2 each; they also handed out bracelets saying “Never Again. Keep Our Schools Safe.” As our school community’s number one goal is to keep students safe, this was an effective forum for students who wished to participate in the national event to do so safely.
For a complete list of pictures, please check the photo album.
For a complete list of videos, please check our Youtube Channel