KCSD students choose kindness to support Parkland
Assemblies at Mazama, Henley and Gilchrist High Schools
Students at Klamath County School District high schools stood in solidarity with students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on March 14. They chose to stand in assemblies and commit to kindness to remember the 17 victims of the mass school shooting one month ago.
“The time is now,” said Mazama High School Kindness Club member Taylor Morrison. “We need to come together and we need to spread the love throughout our community, throughout our school. I know we can all do it. It’s up to us to act.”
Students at Mazama, Henley and Gilchrist high schools planned assemblies in response to a national walkout marking one month since the deadly events in Parkland. At all three schools students chose to focus on the positive rather than the negative.
Some students did choose to participate in the 10 a.m. walk-out protest. Four students at Mazama sat outside the school office and reflected.
About a dozen students in the senior class at Chiloquin Jr./Sr. High School sat in the school lobby during the walkout time.
At Gilchrist, 47 students chose to walk out at 10 a.m. At 11:30, the school held an assembly where staff and students spoke about the Parkland victims.
“It was a wonderful tribute which was well received by the students,” said Gilchrist Principal Steve Prock. “In both the walk-out and the assembly, students were respectful and taking it very serious.”
Students did not walk out at any other KCSD high schools or middle schools.
Both Henley High School and Mazama High School took acts of solidarity for their fellow students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Henley High School students all signed a banner reading “Choose Kindness.” Mazama students held up letters to the words “MHS Supports Parkland,” and will send photos to the Florida school.
Henley and Mazama also focused on kindness as their message to students.
“We wanted it to be hard-hitting and we wanted them to take the message away from today,” said Shaina Higuera, a Mazama leadership student who helped organize Wednesday’s assembly. “Just give them stepping stones to being kinder and being nicer as a person and as a school.”
Mazama’s leadership class and the Kindness Club tasked their fellow students to complete 17 acts of kindness on Wednesday. One example was an appreciation station, where students wrote messages on cards to thank someone they care about.
“I hope they take it away from school and I hope they bring it toward our whole community, involve it in their everyday lives,” Shaina said. “Not just think it’s something they need to do for a day or the rest of the week. They carry it on with their lives. I hope it impacts them and who they are.”
At Henley High School, Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello spoke during the assembly and stayed at the school for the day. She and members of her office spoke with students in smaller groups, discussing school safety and other difficult issues teens face. She spoke with groups of students of similar age, and spoke to groups of only girls or only boys.
“It fosters that communication,” she said. “This is more conducive to an actual, honest conversation.”
The small group conversations touched on bullying, texting and driving, alcohol, drugs and sexting. She focused on the way the law treats young people, and how it can impact girls or boys differently.
“I think it’ll help them deal with making more appropriate choices,” Costello said. “Understanding what the law expects of them and making choices that are more long-term positive toward their life.”
Mazama event photography and article by Samantha Tipler, Public Relations, Klamath County School District. Henley event photography by Brian Gailey.