What Really Happened

Students and staff recount the shooting that changed their lives


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SPEAKING OUT. The students and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have recently released a book that is sure to change lives. This novel, titled “Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share their Stories” is a collection of poems, essays, letters, artwork, and photographs that depict the feelings and emotional trauma that the members of this community went through this time last year. “After the shooting I spent probably a month just writing poems, writing my thoughts out and I felt that was one of the ways I could slowly begin my healing process,” said one of the student contributors, Caitlynn Tibbetts, according to NBC News.

Books are an escape. They are an opportunity to submerge into a story, forgetting reality and instead plunging headfirst into fantasy, leaving worries and woes behind. They are a way to forget the world and everything in it.

However, this new book, “Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share their Stories” is asking the public to snap awake to reality. It is asking them to remember.

This poignant read has been authored by 43 students and teachers who were involved in the horrific shooting that took place on Feb. 14, 2018, in which 17 members of the students and staff were massacred inside their school.

It is a collection of essays, poems, artwork, and photographs, and sheds light on what the news channels and radio stations could not begin to report on.

The book was edited by the school’s journalism teacher, Sara Lerner.

“[I wanted to ensure] That the audience would really get a feel for what it was like for us here. It’s not just what you see on the news, it’s the struggle people have every day, why they continue to fight and speak out, I hope that comes through in the book,” Lerner said, according to NBC News.

Filled in these 192 pages are accounts, complaints, protests, and personal anecdotes that show just how large of a splash this event made, and just how many ripples radiated off of it.

Brianna Jesionowski, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, wrote about the first night home after the incident.

“How many did he kill? After hours of no sleep, my eyes slip shut, as I still weep, there is a feeling in my gut, I wake up screaming, the memories haunt my head,” Jesionowski wrote, according to ABC News.

These stories are raw. They are not manufactured interviews or impassive news articles. They are heartbreaking. Emotional. They are real and need to be read.

“I feel like emotions can be conveyed in so many different ways, and writing and drawing and taking photos are a good outlet. I will definitely be reading this book, knowing that it will be so much more heartfelt than any broadcast or article I’ve read about the shooting,” said Grace Caldwell, 9.

The book is available at several bookstores and is on Amazon for $12.18 in paperback and $10.99 on Kindle.

Rest assured, this book will change feelings, opinions, perspectives, and maybe even change lives.

And hopefully, then, our nation will finally realize why we can never, ever, have something like this happen again.