angels

Seventeen angel statues face outward at the memorial at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Florida. The statues were put up for the vigil the day after the shooting.

 

It’s been nearly a year since the Valentine’s Day Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. UF students who are alumni of the Parkland school plan to honor those who were killed.

Elizabeth Stout, an MSD alumna who was in the shooting and the president of March For Our Lives Gainesville, wanted to find a way to honor the 17 lives lost without fixating on the negativity of the anniversary by hosting a 17-Day Celebration.

“I started to get really anxious and upset again and everything started coming back,” the 18-year-old UF political science freshman said. “I was just trying to find a way to not be upset this year, so I decided to make this.”

The 17-Day Celebration started Jan. 28 and ends on the anniversary, Stout said. Each day honors one of the Parkland victims through a trait that defined them.

Examples include “Wear Orange For Jaime Guttenberg,” in honor of the 14-year old who was killed or “Wave and Smile to Your Loved Ones for Aaron Feis,” in honor of a friendly security guard who lost his life, Stout said.

Julia Tiplea, a 20-year-old UF marine sciences junior, 2016 MSD alumna and a founder of UF Stands With MSD, believes this event will help memorialize the victims positively, she said.

“The important thing is to not dwell on the anxiety and grief that we’ve been through,” Tiplea, said. “Instead, we celebrate the lives of those that are no longer with us, as I’m sure that is what they’d want.”