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Lake Worth HS students, teachers stand in solidarity for school shooting victims

Posted at 10:18 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 00:59:58-05

As students walked out of schools across the country to make their voices heard, Lake Worth High School leaders worked with their students to offer a moment of silence and protest on campus.

On Wednesday, WPTV was invited to watch kids and teachers working together to make gifts for shooting victims and rally side by side at the school.

Principal Elvis Epps said he wanted to work with students to organize their own protest on campus and give them a voice.

It was a safer alternative, he says, to walking out.

"You will make a difference when you grow up," said Principal Epps during the rally on Wednesday in the school courtyard outside the cafeteria.

It was part of a busy day for students and teachers at the campus.

In Jennifer Gironda's art class, students have been busy this week making hundreds of hearts, complete with angel's wings.

“It’s in memory of the lost souls,” said Gironda. “We’re keeping the heart in art."

Those hearts will be sent to the grieving students in Parkland.

"To make these hearts and give it to them, it's just a blessing,” said 12th grader Elizabeth Point-du-Jour.

Students from across the school -- even those who aren't in Gironda's class -- are stopping by to craft a heart out of fabric and paint.

"It's something they can touch, something they can hold, our emotions are being sent out to them as well,” said senior Kiana Tejada.  "We should hold our families closer, we should hold our friends closer."

"We're giving back to the people that lost something,” said junior Millennium Virgil.  "It's just sad that someone came to a school to shoot up innocent people for no reason."

In between classes during lunch time, the peaceful protest began in the school courtyard.

“United we all stand as one,” said junior Weidmayer Pierre, who helped organize the protest alongside fellow student leaders on campus.

The group held a moment of silence as the names of all 17 victims were read aloud by senior Austin Nault. Organizers encouraged students to wear all black at the rally.

It’s moments like those that principal Epps said he's all too familiar with.

"I grew up during civil rights in Mississippi, I see similar things taking place,” he said.

He hopes these students will carry today's message with them throughout their lives.

"They have to believe that they have a voice to make a change,” said Epps. "Show the world that they stand for a cause."

The students also signed several giant banners that say "Lake Worth High School Stands With You”. The banners, along with the hundreds of hearts, will be delivered to Parkland this weekend.

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