Students Unite To Make A Difference

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While last week’s National School Walkout event was a divisive issue around the country, students and faculty of the Levittown School District decided that the solution was to band together. Division Avenue High School, MacArthur High School and Levittown’s middle schools all held special events on Wednesday, March 14, to honor the victims of the recent tragic school shooting that took place in Parkland, FL.

For students at Salk and Wisdom Lane middle schools, the focus of the day was on making new friends. First, during morning announcements, the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting were commemorated with 17 seconds of silence. Afterwards, students who wished to participate in the day’s event were given ribbons—red for Salk students and blue for Wisdom Lane students—in their social studies classes, which they customized with messages of support to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) in Parkland. The ribbons were placed on trees in the school courtyards. Students were then encouraged to try to make new friends by sitting at different lunch tables than their normal tables, with the goal of making 17 new friends.

In the days leading up to March 14, MacArthur students were given the opportunity to make support ribbons for the students of MSDHS. The ribbons, colored maroon and silver in accordance with MSDHS’s school colors, were bolstered by written words of encouragement from participating students. On March 14, students who had made ribbons gathered to place them at MacArthur while also observing a moment of silence.

Meanwhile, at Division, all students who wished to participate gathered at 9:55 a.m. on March 14 as the names of the 17 victims from MSDHS were read during a moment of silence. In addition, during lunch periods, students had the option to sign a banner of support for the students at MSDHS, with messages such as, “Stay strong, MSD,” surrounding the Division Avenue High School’s Blue Dragons logo. The banner will be mailed to MSDHS along with sympathy letters from Division’s students.

In a statement to the Levittown Tribune, Levittown School District Superintendent Dr. Tonie McDonald expressed satisfaction with the way the district’s students handled the somber day.

“This week, our secondary school students focused on kindness and remembrance in the names of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims,” McDonald said. “They planned a meaningful and heartfelt day. I was very proud of the way they conducted themselves, and, as always, proud to be the Superintendent of the Levittown Public Schools.”

What did you think of the students’ tributes? Share your thoughts with me by email at jcatrone@antonmediagroup.com.

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Joseph Catrone is the former editor of Farmingdale Observer, Hicksville News, Levittown Tribune and Massapequa Observer. He is also a contributing writer to Long Island Weekly and Anton Media Group's special sections.

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