NDA Students Surprised by Response to Walkout

Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Friday, April 20, marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre, and schools across the country participated in an annual walkout to honor the memories of the victims.

This year, however, high school students united and walked for more than “thoughts and prayers.”  They walked for hope and change. Each walked to make a statement, some political, some personal, but all significant.

Having discussed their desire to walk with the administration, almost 40 students left class and made the walk.  School registrar Michele Mahlock accompanied them.

“I know how passionate people at our school can be about issues in our society, and I think our generation has started to take a stand, especially since the Parkland shooting,” explained junior Grace O’Malley, one of the individuals responsible for Notre Dame’s walk- out. “The walkout was primarily to raise awareness, but I think that everyone marched for different reasons.”

After participating in the national 13 seconds of silence, all participants in the walkout were given the chance to speak up. Almost every one of them took the opportunity.

“We cannot become desensitized to these violations of human dignity.” Clare Ravizza, another student responsible for the planning of the event prepared words to share. “We call for change! In our laws, in our nation, and in the way we look at gun violence as an unavoidable facet of life.”

Ravizza and other NDA organizers inspired the participants to share their perspectives on the issue.

Perhaps the highlight of the walkout was the most unexpected aspect of it. As the participants stood at the corner of Maryhill, a car pulled over and a woman hopped out and walked over to the huddle. “Are you guys walking out for gun violence?”

For a second, the students held their breaths anticipating one of two reactions. “I wasn’t sure if she was going to be supportive or aggressive,” O’Malley shared. The breath was released when the woman expressed her support and admiration for the group.

“That really impacted me because it was a visible sign that it is possible to make a difference and it is possible to connect with people.,” O’Malley said. “It was memorable.”

The walkout made ripples at NDA for those involved and those not involved, which was the ultimate goal of the event. “I was struck by how much support we got,” admitted O’Malley. “I think it’s much less of a political controversy than a human one.”