Florence County students, staff honor Parkland victims with post - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Florence County students, staff honor Parkland victims with posters, ceremonies

West Florence High students hold up personalized posters for the victims of the Parkland shooting. (Source: Florence County School District One on Facebook) West Florence High students hold up personalized posters for the victims of the Parkland shooting. (Source: Florence County School District One on Facebook)
South Florence High students present a signed poster that will be sent to Parkland. (Source: Florence County School District One on Facebook) South Florence High students present a signed poster that will be sent to Parkland. (Source: Florence County School District One on Facebook)
Sneed Middle School students hold a ceremony in honor of the victims. (Source: Florence County School District One on Facebook) Sneed Middle School students hold a ceremony in honor of the victims. (Source: Florence County School District One on Facebook)
South Florence High School students form a heart in front of the school (Source: WMBF News) South Florence High School students form a heart in front of the school (Source: WMBF News)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Students across Florence County showed their support and solidarity with the victims of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida with ceremonies and signs.

Students at West Florence High School honored the 17 students and staff members killed one month ago with posters bearing the names of the victims. The West Florence students and acting principal Kelvin Wymbs stood together during a ceremony they called “17 Minutes to Remember.” The posters provided personalized information about the victims of the shooting.

Sneed Middle School used the school’s theme of “Sneed Stands 4 Safety” during a ceremony at the school honoring the victims.

Royall Elementary went a differing route by holding a "Walk In Day" instead of a "National Walkout Day" event. First responders were invited to lunch so they could be honored for protecting schools. The emergency workers interacted with students at lunch and they were given t-shirts and handwritten thank-you cards made by the children. 

"It’s important to recognize that they are safe at school," Royall Elementary Principal Julie Smith said. "You know a lot of what we read and hear, you know, is scary for our children, but when you see first responders here interacting with children, interacting with staff in a positive way, I think it’s reassuring not only to them but to our parents and to our staff as well."

South Florence High School students joined the nationwide school walkout movement with a peaceful demonstration. The song "Taps" was played while the American flag was lowered to half staff. Hundreds of students formed a huge heart on the field while displaying a signed 'Remember the 17' poster, expressing their sympathy to the families of the Parkland victims.

“We thought of hearts, our heart goes out to you. We remember. This red symbolizes love and we just want to send out love from us to them in this time of need,” South Florence High School senior J'Kayla McElveen said.

“They had all of the ideas. It was completely student led and they wanted it to be peaceful,” South Florence High School teacher Elizabeth Collins said.

 McElveen said the incident at Parkland has made her more aware.

“Made me be more careful about my surroundings, like who I hang around and stuff like that, and know that it can happen anywhere,” she said.

South Florence students and staff say right now, unity is what the movement for better school safety needs most. That prompted them to come up with the idea for the ceremony.

“I would think that they would be very happy to know that other schools not just around their community but nationwide are thinking about them, and thinking about the incident that happened.” McElveen said.

“I think our students are our future and they demonstrate to me every day that we are in good hands,” Collins said.

At the end, 17 balloons - one for each victim - were released. 

“For us to come together as one or come together as youth and kids, I think is very important.” McElveen said.

South Florence High School will send a video of the ceremony and the 'Remember the 17' banner to the students of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

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