Cougar Pride Supports Eagle Pride


SAC High School students and staff stand in memory of the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Contributors: Somerset Sentinel News Crew

On February 23rd, the students and faculty members at Somerset Academy Canyons organized a rally to show support of those who were affected by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.  Students and teachers prepared speeches and created posters.

Holly Sutton
Students of Somerset Canyons listening to their classmates speak at the rally.

Many students were outraged by the recent events and wanted to hold an unorganized walk-out; however, administration and the student government association (SGA) felt this could potentially lead to chaos and someone getting injured, so they got together and came up with the idea of an organized and peaceful rally.

“We didn’t want everybody just flooding out of nowhere,” stated Andrea Orrego-Fuentes, senior, vice president of the SGA, and organizer of this event. “We also were scared due to the safety that we’re right next to this major highway, and we have semis coming all the time by our school. We did not want anybody to get hurt, so we wanted to keep something on school grounds, wanted to [do] something that everyone was a part of – not just students, where teachers and faculty were a part of it as well, and we really just wanted to hear the voices of those students.”

Alex Jabcuga
Sophomores reacting to the speeches presented at the rally.

After students were coming to him in tears because they were scared or they knew someone from Stoneman Douglas, Mr. Groezinger, Principal of Somerset, was fully on board for all of this, and wanted to work with them to provide a platform where they could express their thoughts and emotions.

“They were heartbroken at the tragedy,” said Groezinger, “They were [horrified] to think that someone with an assault rifle could come into their school and they wanted to have their voices heard, and not only pay respect for those who lost their lives in Marjory, but also to say, ‘How can we work together as a nation, and as a group of involved people to see that this doesn’t happen again?”

From freshmen to seniors, students who spoke at the rally talked about their views on gun control and the safety of their fellow classmates.  They also talked about coming together as a school and making sure something like this does not happen again to anyone. Tia Deeb and Hannah Brown, both freshman, stated that school is supposed to be a safe place, and Alyssa Ach, senior, told students to remind their loved ones that they love them.

Katia Campos
Freshmen Hannah Brown (left) and Tia Deeb (right) speak to their peers about safety in their school.


Cara Panarisi, also a senior and speaker at the rally, stated after that, “Every day before I leave for school, my mom’s like, ‘I love you, and I want you to know that,’ and I’m like, ‘I love you, too, mom,’ ‘cause like, I don’t know what’s going to happen, and… it brings it back to the front of our minds that this is something that we have to deal with and that’s something that affects us all personally.”

One student in particular, senior, Zoe Terner, rode on the bus with Stoneman Douglas students to Tallahassee to speak with Florida state representatives on gun safety and reform. She shared her experience with her peers and reminded them if they want to make a change to go out and do it.

Stacy Terner, Zoe’s mother, said that, “Zoe can be seen [on CNN Today] holding a sign that reads ‘I will not stand idly by’. It is a part of a quote from Elie Wiesel, ‘Do not stand idly by if you witness injustice. You must intervene. You must intervene.”

In addition to students expressing their viewpoints, two teachers had prepared speeches and talked to students about making a difference. Mrs. Horsley, the journalism teacher and newspaper adviser, told students to not just talk about change, but rather do something to make a change.

Ms. Resillez, the high school Biology teacher, created a demonstration with three of her students about dates of birth and death with one student as the dash (the symbol between the two dates) as a reminder to make the years between as long as you can and to make them count. “What is it that you can do to make your ‘dash’ count?” asked Resillez.

Katia Campos
(From left to right) Taylor Binnette, Bailey Stormer, and Ayleen Garcia, all juniors, helping Ms. Resillez with her demonstration about making your “dash” count.

The whole rally ended on a high note, in which students walked outside the gym to the field, where they took a picture in the formation of the number 17 to represent the 17 lives lost at the shooting.

Shayna Nunez-Lefrak, freshman, stated after the rally, “I feel like currently in this specific community this has made a significant impact. We’re very active people here and this was closer to home than any of the previous events have been, so this is an area that should not be tampered with, an area that is obviously going to promote some kind of change.”

Katia Campos
Shayna Nunez-Lefrak holding her poster on the field with pride.

When asked about what change she would make, Orrego-Fuentes responded, “I would just hope that my kids in the future, my grand-kids in the future, won’t have to go through something so dramatic and something so drastic for change, and I hope that the change that comes out of this is one that is obviously for the better, one where kids do not get killed in school, or in movie theaters, or in concerts, or anywhere they go. I just hope that there’s a change where we all feel safe no matter where we go, no matter where we’re at.”