Tomorrow, it will be the three year anniversary since a gunman took the lives of 15 students and two teachers at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I’m reposting this because sometimes it’s all too easy to focus solely on statistics and lose sight of the actual people whose lives were lost.


One week ago today, one of the worst school shootings took place at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas took place in Parkland, Florida. Today, thousands of students from Palm Beach to Washington D.C., are walking out in protest of state and federal governments refusal to discuss the increasing gun violence in this country and the shameful neglect of the mentally ill, and Parkland school survivors are meeting with some Florida legislators after traveling 400 miles yesterday to Tallahassee. To add further context I’d like to share with you the seventeen people whose lives ended all too soon. I realize this is a long post, but  these are not just statistics. These innocents had hopes and dreams that will never be realized. Each of their lives touched hundreds of others, which leads me to wonder what if…


Alyssa Alhadeff, 14


A student at Stoneman Douglas, Alyssa was a valued member of the Parkland Travel Soccer club and attended Camp Coleman, a Jewish sleepaway camp. Her mother, Lori’s last words to her daughter as she dropped her daughter off at school that morning were “I love you.”


Scott Beigel, 35


A geography teacher, Scott Beigel was killed as he was shepherding students into his classroom as the shooting commenced. One of his students, Kelsey Friend, tearfully told CNN: “Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom. I am alive today because of him.”


Martin Duque Anguiano, 14


Martin who was a member of the junior ROTC, is being mourned by his family, and a Go Fund Me Page has been set up to help with funeral expenses. Miguel Duque had this to say about his younger brother on Facebook: “He was a very funny kid, outgoing, and sometimes really quiet. He was sweet and caring and loved by all his family. Most of all he was my baby brother.


Nicholas Dworet, 17


Nicholas was a senior and captain of the Stoneman Douglas swim team. He would have been a member of the freshman class at the University of Indianapolis this fall. He had been recruited by their swimming team. In his online obituary, Nicholas’ family described him as “a romantic, a dreamer, a mentor to so many…a lover of life, a true friend, best brother ever, a son that brought so much joy to his parents, and so much more.”


Aaron Feis, 37


Assistant football coach, Aaron Feis, was killed as he threw himself in front of students to protect them from the deranged gunman. Football spokeswoman, Denis Lehtio stated: “He died the same way he lived—-he put himself second. He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”


Jaime Guttenberg, 14


Jaime’s father posted this on his Facebook page last Thursday: “My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school. We lost our daughter and my son Jesse Guttenberg lost his sister. I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family gets through this…Hugs to all and hold your children tight.”


Chris Hixon, 49

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Chris Hixon, was the athletic director at the high school. He was also a Naval reservist who served in Iraq in 2007. He was known to give students rides, lunch money, and in some cases, even opened his home to them. His wife Debra said: “He just loved being around kids and giving back to the community.”


Luke Hoyer, 15


Luke’s murder has shocked his family. His cousin, Grant called Luke “an amazing individual. Always happy, always smiling. His smile was contagious, and so was his laugh.” Another relative posted on Facebook  that the family is “very close” and is “devastated by this senseless shooting.”  “Our Luke was a precious child.”


Cara Loughran, 14


Cara was a dancer at the Drake School of Irish Dance. The studio released this statement: “Cara was a beautiful soul and always had a smile on her face. We are heartbroken as we send our love and support to her family during this horrible time.”


Gina Montalto, 14


Gina was a member of the winter guard on the school’s marching band. Her mother wrote in a Facebook post: “Our beautiful daughter, Gina Rose, was taken from us during the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered.” And Manuel Miranda, who was an instructor for the band’s team of flag bearers and dancers posted on Facebook: “My heart is broken into pieces. I will forever remember you my sweet angel.”


Joaquin Oliver, 17


Joaquin moved from Venezuela to the U.S. when he was three. He became a naturalized citizen in January 2017. ‘Guac’ had many interests including: the Venezuelan national soccer team, football, basketball, hip-hop, and urban graffiti. His last social media post from December 31, was a message to his girlfriend. “Thank you lord for putting a greater blessing than I could ever imagine into my life this past year. I love you with all my heart.”


Alaina Petty, 14


Alaina was a member of the junior ROTC at her school. She was also a member the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints “Helping Hands” program. She volunteered after Hurricane Irma hit Florida last September. A statement from her family said: “Alaina loved to serve. While we will not have the opportunity to watch her grow up and become the amazing woman we know she would become, we are keeping an eternal perspective.”


Meadow Pollack, 18


Meadow had been accepted to Lynn University in Boca Raton, according to spokeswoman Jamie D’Aria. She added: “Meadow was a lovely young woman, who was full of energy. We were very much looking forward to having her join our community in the fall.” A friend, Gil Lovito, said on Facebook: “Please say a prayer for the family of an amazing girl I got to call my best friend growing up Meadow Pollack…her life was taken way too soon and I have no words to describe how this feels. Rest in Piece my beautiful angel. You are and forever will be loved.”


Helena Ramsay, 17


Helena was planning on starting college next year. A family member, Curtis Page Jr. said in a Facebook post: “Helena was a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person. She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was somewhat reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her. She was so brilliant and witty, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone.”


Alex Schachter, 14


Alex played baritone in the school marching band and trombone in the orchestra. A Go Fund Me page has been set up by his family as a scholarship fund. The page’s statement reads: “In an effort to continue his memory, this scholarship is being created to help other students experience the joys of music as well as fund increased security at school. Please help keep Alex’s spirit alive. The money raised will be sent to the Stoneman Douglas Marching Eagles.”


Carmen Schentrup, 16


Carmen was a National Merit Scolar semifinalist. Sadly she never knew as the announcement came the day after the massacre. Carmen is being mourned by her family and the community. Her parents released a statement Sunday describing their daughter as a bookworm who loved Sci-Fi, fantasy, and comedy. She read over a hundred books a year and people frequently thought her older than her age. “She recently joked people had been asking her how she liked college since she was a freshman. She was still a kid at heart. She was silly, playful and huggable. We miss her hugs.”


Peter Wang, 15


Peter was a member of the junior ROTC. According to friends, he was shot while holding open a door to help his fellow classmates get to safety. He, along with Alaina and Martin have all been awarded the Medal of Heroism, the highest honor given in the Junior Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps. Peter, who also dreamed of attending West Point once he graduated, received a posthumous acceptance from the academy…the same day of his funeral.