PARKLAND, Fla. - The memorial outside Stoneman Douglas High School, where the community surrounded crosses and Jewish stars for the 17 victims with tokens of love and support, is no longer there. Local historians want future generations to be able to see all of it someday.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see how people have loved those people, but it’s a difficult thing to know why they’re there," said Lisa Hitchcock, who teaches Advanced Placement U.S. History at Stoneman Douglas.
About 50 volunteers sorted the mementos, photographed them and packed them up into boxes to be preserved for future display.
"I believe what we’re doing is important to the future," said Jeff Schwartz, president of the Parkland Historical Society. "I want these kids and these adults remembered for hundreds of years by preserving these items."
He said his group chose a day during spring break to pack everything up so as not to interfere with students attending school.
One victim in particular, Carmen Schentrup, brought Douglas Senior Amanda Hall out to the school during spring break to help out.
“She was not only incredibly smart, but she was funny and sarcastic and such a kind person," Amanda said.
Amanda packed up what people had dropped off for Carmen.
“I wanted to kind of be part of the team to make sure all of this stuff got to where it needed to be," she said.
Volunteers used the same sorting process outside Douglas that they used at Pine Trails Park two weeks ago when they packed up memorial items there in preparation for the March for Our Lives.
"It’s very emotional," Schwartz said.
Hundreds of boxes of items from both locations are being stored at Florida Atlantic University until they’re preserved, archived and then set up in a display, which Schwartz hopes is complete by the one year mark of the shooting.
“We just need to make sure that something like this never happens again. That we pay attention to any of the signs and it can never happen again," Hitchcock said. "We also need to never forget these 17 amazing people."