Collegiate students walk out

Since having a dream about an unknown student in possession of hand grenades and guns setting the school on fire, a Collegiate High School student has been in fear of the possibility.

“It was a dream I had after Del Mar was held on lockdown [in 2015, due to a gun threat] but it was scary to see the people that I love and care about dying, being afraid and crying,” said senior Hannah Heasley.

However, the fear of gun-related violence has been a reality for many students.

Since the school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, more than 187,000 students in the United States have experienced a shooting on campus, according to a long-term Washington Post analysis.

For Collegiate High School, on April 20, students held a walkout, honoring the 17 students who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the 19 anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

Collegiate Principal Tracie Rodriguez decided not to call the event a “walkout” but rather a “walkup.”

“Sometimes the use of the word “walkout” brings a negative connotation,” Rodriguez said. “We are trying to bring up each other in regards to how it is and the way it is we support collaboratively in a larger unit.”

The students gathered on Del Mar grounds to form the number “17,” some wearing the colors red, white and blue of the American flag for their pep rally that took place on the same day, with the theme “around the world.”

Most students were excited for the pep rally, while a few others were aware of the impact of participating in a nationwide event, and one student made a poster that referenced the support of protecting lives.

“My entire mindset wasn’t to incite any kind of controversy of political views but I took it as an opportunity to commemorate the lives lost in the Florida shooting,” said Stanley Uzoigwe, who made a poster.

Since the Parkland shooting, the first school walkout by students nationwide occured on March 14, a month after the shooting took place, and nearly 3,000 schools participated against the role of gun violence. Most schools in the Coastal Bend region were off for spring break.

The second event, known as March For Our Lives, led by youths took place on March 24. Corpus Christi participated in the rally, being led by six Ray High School teens.

Heasley, who participated in the March For Our Lives protest and volunteered, knew the Ray High School students who led the event and was proud of their initiative.

“It was really empowering. People had bullhorns and were chanting, and it was a beautiful unifying moment to see people stand up for the protection of human life,” Heasley said.

With the youth taking part in society today, regarding issues of political, social, economic and cultural changes, many of the Collegiate High School students hope for change to come.

Though with wanting improvements, Heasley said Collegiate could start increasing measures on emergency evacuations and drills.

“We should practice more safety drills because it is obviously a very real thing that could happen,” Heasley said. “There’s definitely more that can be done to prepare but we haven’t really talked too much about any sort of drills like that.”

With the ending of the “walkup” at Collegiate, Rodriguez has been awakened by the youth of today.

“I compliment the youth today,” Rodriguez said. “I think their voices are equally important and often times their voice might be even heard louder.

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