The names of the 17 students and staff members killed in the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida were read by students throughout Ontario County Wednesday.
The focus of various demonstrations taking place as part of a National School Walkout was on remembrance, solidarity, advocacating for safer schools and promoting acts of kindness.
Hundreds of Candandaigua Academy students filled both levels of the central atrium where Jackson Brague, a sophomore class officer, read off the names one by one, followed by a moment of silence for each.
The school’s buzzer sounded and another name was read — each with some biographical information, personalizing their memories.
Superintendent Jamie Farr said about 600 to 700 kids — half the student body at the academy — participated. They all stood silently for the duration, some with heads bowed.
“It’s emotional,” Farr said afterward. “You hear people talk about the youth today being troubled or in a bad place. I think that today was a display that couldn’t be further from the truth. We have beautiful kids, thoughtful kids and they’re going to be wonderful future leaders. I have no doubt.”
Farr said the high school students designed the day themselves with help from Principal Vern Tenney, whom he said facilitated the conversation and helped the kids plan the event in connection with the #ENOUGH National School Walkout organized by Women’s March Youth Empower.