COLUMN: A year after Parkland, living for those who can’t


Ellie Orlanski

HONOR: About 90 students and faculty sang songs and read psalms in the parking lot March 14, 2018 to honor victims of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 14 students and three teachers. About half the school stayed in class.

By Bayley Sandler, Staff Writer

Every morning, I make the long drive over the hill from the Valley and my mind drifts with daydreams. Last week on Feb. 14, my mind drifted to Parkland.

Teenagers who were my age or in my age range either died or forever have to deal with the PTSD that comes with having seen their friends die.

We are two months and 50 days into 2019. So far, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 43 mass shootings in the United States, in which 1,876 people were killed.

Shalhevet is a very safe and protected place with security guards standing at the gates and patrolling the hallways every so often. But on Feb. 14, that was not enough to keep the fear from creeping in.

No matter how safe I am within the school’s walls, there is always the possibility of becoming a statistic. People are fighting over gun control and I want to be remembered for more than being hit by a bullet. So, the fear is not so much for my life as it is for my legacy.

Within the secure walls of Shalhevet, I know that the only thing that poses a threat to me is the stairway. Our school has given us a safe place to not worry about such things, but Shalhevet is not with us in our everyday lives. I feel it outside of Shalhevet. There is something silent that constantly makes me glance over my shoulder for the people around me and for my safety, because any of those 1,876 people could have been me, or anyone who I know personally.  

To be a teenager in the aftermath of the slew of school shootings back in 2018 is something of a nightmare.

As a freshman in high school, I think it is important for me to help those who were my age when they died live on. So even with the small twinges of fear at the back of my head, I will continue living both in school and out — because they cannot.

I am going to keep trying my best in school and to balance some semblance of a social life with those teenagers who will forever be teenagers in mind. Even though they will not grow with us into adulthood, it is important that we try to do so.

Most mornings, I sleep as my dad drives my sister and me from our house in Valley Village to Shalhevet.  But on the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting and of the deaths of those who were the same ages as me and any other student I let the hidden fear of being hit by a gun settle at the bottom of my stomach and realized how lucky I am to go to a school that has every single student’s safety in mind.

And then I went beyond that fear and dedicated myself to living a little more fully to honor some of those who will never get to live again.

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