600 Cobblers Pay Tribute to Parkland Students through Walkout

Six hundred Cobblers participated in Wednesday’s walkout, which they described as a memorial for those killed one month earlier in Parkland, Florida.

By Stephanie Hight

Approximately 600 students at Central High School marched out of their class and to the theater on Wednesday to pay tribute to those who were killed in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

On February 14th, 2018, a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people and wounded 17 more. These deaths were all by bullets, making it one of the world’s deadliest school massacres.

Flash forward to March 14th, 2018, a month after the shooting, a national walkout occurred, and students at four high schools in Rapid City participated, with Rapid City Central and Stevens walking to their respective theaters to pay tribute to the victims and Rapid City High School walking a few blocks to Central to protest gun violence, while St. Thomas More gathered in a prayer of memorial.

“I wasn’t expecting nearly the entire theater to be filled,” said Emily Washington, a senior at Central High School and leader for the walkout. “I was expecting probably 15-30 kids, not over 600! I was overjoyed because our unity itself told the history of the morals of young people.”

Emily Washington is also a student representative for the Board of Education for Rapid City Area Schools and has close contact with Mr. Michael Talley, the principal of Central High School, and Dr. Lori Simon, the district’s superintendent, enabling her to work together with them and students across the district to help this memorial to happen.

In addition to the walkout, student leaders wrote letters to South Dakota senators John Thune and Mike Rounds and House representative Kristi Noem.

“In the letters we address gun violence and propose specific policies for those people to consider, and the students who chose to sign, signed,” Washington said.

There were about 300 students who signed their signatures on the letters and students have made the letters available in the performing arts hallway, outside of the theater classroom, for others who wish to sign their names.