On February 14, 2018, Broward County Public Schools endured the unimaginable as tragedy struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland. From that day on, MSD students, parents and staff have worked tirelessly to make a difference, not only for our county, but for our country. In only one year, these individuals have created organizations and movements that led to many changes.
February 14, 2018
A tragedy occurred at MSD, resulting in the death of 14 students and three staff members. The Parkland community, as well as all of Broward County, was forever changed from this day forward. Many students countywide were heavily impacted.
“I was at Western High School for the first softball game of the season when the umpire told us what had happened,” sophomore Ashley Rodriguez said. “I was very upset. It was all I could think about the entire bus ride home. I was worried about my friends that go to MSD and what could’ve happened to them.”
February 17, 2018
On this day, activist Emma González gave her viral “We call BS” speech, which began the news coverage of many student activists.
February 21, 2018
CCHS students hosted a walkout to protest gun violence in schools. Many individuals created posters and signs with expressions representing their beliefs. Some students gave powerful speeches and the event ended with a walk around the track.
“I participated in the walkout because I felt like I needed to be there for people who had lost their friends,” senior Kelly Buker said. “Douglas being so close to Cooper definitely hit the community hard because these were people we knew.”
March 9, 2018
The state of Florida raised the legal age to own a firearm to 21. This law came into place following the tragedy at MSD and was supported by Governor Rick Scott.
March 14, 2018
For the one month anniversary of the MSD shooting, many CCHS students gathered for a memorial in the courtyard. Fourteen desks and three podiums were placed in a circle, each with a nametag of a victim and a rose. Students participated in 17 minutes of silence to honor the 17 individuals who lost their lives.
March 24, 2018
Over 800,000 individuals gathered at a march on Washington, entitled “March for Our Lives,” to protest against gun violence. The march was organized by MSD students and featured many speakers and musicians. In addition to the march in Washington D.C., many gathered at satellite marches in cities all over the world.
“I attended the ‘March For Our Lives’ in Parkland,” junior Grant Golin said. “The experience was incredibly awe-inspiring. For this tragedy to be in one of Cooper City’s sister cities, and for all of us to rise to the occasion and ask public servants to pass more strict federal and state gun laws to prevent massacres like the one at MSD from happening again anywhere in the U.S. was incredible.”
April 16, 2018
The Broadway community came together in Broward County to honor the Parkland community in an event entitled “From Broadway with Love.” Broadway performers performed alongside MSD students at the BB&T Center.
“It was so powerful to see all these people that kids here idolize come and make sure the Parkland community knew they were loved and supported,” sophomore Rachel Goldberg said. “They all sang powerful, hopeful songs, and never focused for a second on the negative. I think the most emotional part for me was when a girl from MSD sang the song ‘Life is Like a Rollercoaster.’ This was a poem by Alex Schachter [a victim of the shooting] that they made a song out of. This moment was extremely powerful and really moved the crowds.”
April 20, 2018
CCHS students participated in National School Walkout Day on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. Students gathered to form a heart on the football field to show their support.
June 16, 2018
The March for Our Lives organization began their “Road to Change.” MSD student activists traveled to over 50 cities where they educated and encouraged the youth to vote.
August 15, 2018
Broward County students returned to school with new safety regulations in place. A code red policy was implemented, requiring schools to perform a code red drill once a month. In addition, students are required to wear their ID badges and campuses are required to have a single point of entry.
“I don’t mind the code red drills, and while wearing an ID every day is annoying, I understand that it is for my safety and for others around me,” freshman Marek Covard said. “It is a necessary change to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be.”
October 16, 2018
“Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement” was published. This book, written by the students involved in March for Our Lives, details the movement started by the MSD students.
November 6, 2018
The U.S. midterm elections were held. Youth voter turnout increased dramatically and 31% of individuals ages 18 to 29 participated in the election.
December 18, 2018
President Trump officially placed a ban on bump stocks in the U.S. This ban will prevent owners of semi-automatic weapons from increasing how quickly the weapon can fire rounds.
January 2, 2019
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, comprised of MSD parents, law officers, school board members and government officials, released their initial report which outlines the events leading up to and occurring on February 14, 2018. The 446-page report also memorializes the victims by including their photos and a paragraph describing them.
February 14, 2019
One year later. Students of Broward County are asked to participate in service and show love on this day. The day is to be filled with nothing but love and giving back in memory of the 17 students and faculty that passed away.
In light of a tragedy, the nation supported the Parkland community in making a change. However, this movement is not over and will continue to grow as students, parents, administrators, teachers and all individuals work toward making a difference in honor of the 17 victims who will never be forgotten.
Photos by The Lariat Photography