PUHI — The gray, rainy weather mirrored the solemn reflection of Island School’s students, while Landon McNamara’s popular anti-violence song, “Loss For Words,” played over the loudspeaker in Wilcox Gymnasium.
Its high school student government organized the Wednesday morning assembly of about 200 students to recognize the lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and join a nationwide walkout.
“We’re talking to them about ways they can take viable action to change things in the world that they feel they want to change,” said Philip Steinbacher, Island School Fine Arts Department head. “We really want to empower them, rather than just honor those students we’ve lost, to do something further and move on.”
The school used the movement as a teachable moment with a presentation by social studies teacher, Guy Neal, about gun laws, the Second Amendment and political activism geared toward its students from sixth- through 12th-grade.
Individual students and teachers presented detailed descriptions of each of the 17 victims, first announcing their name, followed by the sounding of conch horns. Each speaker described a victim and their personal traits. Some choked up and tried to hold back their tears.
Senior Ali Ho spoke about their trip to Parkland, Florida last week to present the Lei of Aloha.
“I just kind of want to bring awareness about the whole movement itself,” Ho said. “Participating in it prior to this, I feel that I have a responsibility to educate the students of my school about what’s happening in the world and how we can make a difference.”
The presentation was followed by a slide show with Hawaiian music and a moment of silence to honor all shooting victims. The students returned to class to write letters of their choosing to families in Florida or congressmen and women, or to quietly reflect on what they heard.
“Be bold, be brave, be courageous,” Steinbacher said. “Our world today is faced with many serious concerns, and we are looking to you to help us address them.”