PARKLAND, Fla. — The community is coming together for a day of compassion on Friday to mark three years since the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Authorities said 14 students and three staff members were killed on Feb. 14, 2018 when Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside the school.
Every year, Broward County Public Schools recognizes the somber anniversary as a Day of Service and Love, where students, teachers, and other district leaders perform acts of kindness and generosity for the community.
"We will never forgot our MSD fallen angels, and I want to make sure that we remember all of them," Superintendent Robert Runcie said a news conference, honoring the 17 lives lost:
- Alyssa Alhadeff, 14
- Scott Beigel, 35
- Martin Duque, 14
- Nicholas Dworet, 17
- Aaron Feis, 37
- Jaime Guttenberg, 14
- Chris Hixon, 49
- Luke Hoyer, 15
- Cara Loughran, 14
- Gina Montalto, 14
- Joaquin Oliver, 17
- Alaina Petty, 14
- Meadow Pollack, 18
- Helena Ramsay, 17
- Alex Schachter, 14
- Carmen Schentrup, 16
- Peter Wang, 15
Broward County Public Schools marked this year's Day of Service and Love on Friday because the three-year anniversary of the tragedy falls on a Sunday this year, when school is not in session.
"We want our students to feel confident that they have the power, that they have the agency, to positively shape their own lives and the lives of others," Runcie said.
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As part of the service day, volunteers filled bags of personal hygiene products for 1,000 students and their families who are experiencing economic hardship, housing insecurity, or homelessness.
"We truly believe no child should suffer from home insecurity or food insecurity," said Dr. Dildra Martin-Ogburn, the school district's director of benefits.
In addition, Broward County students have raised $13,500 to purchase food for school district's Food Pantry Program.
"The acts of kindness that we see here are being replicated throughout the entire county at our schools and with our students and our staff who provide service to others," Runcie said.
The entire school district observed a moment of silence and reflection at 10:17 a.m. in remembrance of the victims.
Runcie said that on Sunday, the actual anniversary of the tragedy, there will be various tributes and faith-based services throughout South Florida.
"It is through love, tolerance, forgiveness, and service to others that we will combat the destructive forces of hate, anger, and evil," Runcie said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has directed that flags be flown at half-staff at all local and state buildings from sunrise to sunset on Sunday.
We are grateful to students and faculty at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for inviting FHP, and all other First Responders from the Community to breakfast this morning. Your safety is one of the many reasons we go to work each day.💙❤️💙👮♀️👩🎓👩🏾🚒🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/4ATHltKyA1— FHP West Palm Beach (@FHPPalmBeach) February 12, 2021