Brenau Students Remember Parkland Shooting Victims

Mar. 14, 2018
Kristen Bowman
Nicole Miller stands in silence during a remembrance for the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Brenau students, staff and faculty gathered around the Grace Hooten Moore Memorial Fountain and read the names of each victim after a bell rang from Grace Episcopal Church in memory. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Nicole Miller stands in silence during a remembrance for the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Brenau students, staff and faculty gathered around the Grace Hooten Moore Memorial Fountain and read the names of each victim after a bell rang from Grace Episcopal Church in memory. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

More than 100 Brenau University students, staff and faculty members gathered on the front lawn of the Gainesville campus at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14, to remember the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Wednesday marked exactly one month since the Valentine’s Day massacre at the Parkland, Florida, high school. Across the nation and at Brenau, students and administrators remembered the 17 victims from 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m.

Heather Hollimon, Brenau associate professor of political science, and her World Understanding Honors Seminar students organized the remembrance event, which brought together the Brenau community to mourn the loss of the victims, recognize and acknowledge fears and renew bonds as a university community.

“I’m incredibly proud of the thoughtfulness, passion and motivation the students exhibited in researching, compiling and sharing this information,” Hollimon said. “They organized this event in a very respectful and meaningful way.”

Grace Episcopal Church across the street from the front lawn also took part in the event, ringing the church bell once every minute for every victim. After each toll of the bell, a student in Hollimon’s class would read the name and a short biography of each victim.

“This meant a lot to me,” said Nicole Miller, freshman theater major from Woodstock, Georgia. “In this class we do a lot of work and study that I think is really important, and it was the perfect opportunity for us to do this.”

In addition to the program, the students created bulletin boards with information about each victim, about gun legislation in Georgia and about voter registration opportunities. The boards were placed on display in Yonah Lobby – the entrance to the campus dining hall – for the remainder of the day.

“We each did research on the students,” said Olivia Eafano, freshman acting major from Lawrenceville, Georgia. “It was a really humbling experience finding each and every person that was just like us growing up. It was interesting but hard to learn those tidbits about their lives that were cut short.”

“I researched a student and a teacher who died, and it was a jarring experience to be honest,” said classmate Shelby Strachan, senior theater major from Roswell, Georgia. “These are people who came to school that day expecting it to be a normal Valentine’s Day.”

Aaron Mott, freshman health sciences major from Lilburn, Georgia, said it meant a lot to him to take part in a national movement.

“We’ve been covering the topic in class and looking at it from a lot of different perspectives, but this was a way for us to make our voices known around here,” he said. “It was, yes, gathering information and working on a project, but today it really hit that these are individuals – real people – who were lost. It’s important to me that we remember that and that the effects on their families and friends are known.”

 

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