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Iona Prep Students Stand in Solidarity with Parkland Victims

More than 300 Upper School students chose to participate in a memorial service on Wellington T. Mara Field March 14 for the 17 victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Similarly, at the Lower School, seventh grade pupils gathered outside around the Celtic cross to pray 17 Hail Marys, one for each Marjory Stoneman victim. These actions were part of a student-driven initiative to, rather than take a political stance or stage a protest, stand in solidarity with the victims of violence.

Participation in the memorial service was completely voluntary; staff and students who did not wish to participate remained in their classrooms. Members of the Upper School Leadership Committee specifically did not wish to have the service construed as a political action. Instead, their goal was to abide by the Essential Elements of an Edmund Rice Christian Brother Education and "stand in solidarity with those marginalized by poverty and injustice."

Prior to the service, the Leadership Committee met with members of the administration and circulated a survey to gauge the student body's comfort level with a memorial service. Iona Preparatory had been asked by alumni, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York and the province leader for the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers of North America to take part in the national tribute in some way. The students' spin was to hold a memorial service.

The morning of the service, an announcement and instructions were relayed to the student body via the GaelForce LIVE morning announcements broadcast. Numerous teachers and administrators accompanied the students outside to Mara Field, and a New Rochelle police officer was on hand to provide an added layer of safety. Students who chose to remain in class were shown a video on Catholic Social Teaching.

"If Iona Preparatory is truly 'Where Leaders Are Made,'" Iona Prep President Brother Thomas Leto wrote in a note to parents, "the future of this world depends on making them in the image of our one true teacher, Jesus Christ."

Please see below for a copy of the petitions read during the memorial service, or read the president's message to parents. You may also click the link below to watch the video on Catholic Social Teaching shown to students that morning.

Source: Catholic Social Teaching