Local students honor Pakland shooting victims through art

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NEWPORT, N.C. (WNCT) — It’s been almost three months since the Parkland, Florida school shooting and students at one local high school want to show that the victims and their legacies have not been forgotten.

Students at Croatan High School have spent the past months painting and drawing portraits of the victims. They hope to remind others that these people were not just statistics.

“Each of the students,” said art teacher Catherine Olander, “has researched the person that they painted and drew and found words to describe the individual.”

For Mrs. Olander’s art students at Croatan High School, the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were not just names.

“I hope each of them,” said art student Ashley Pridgen, “I hope their stories are kind of told by the pictures we were given the opportunity to draw and paint.”

The students have spent months researching the victims, memorizing their faces, and thinking of ways that they could honor their memories.

“It was really tough for a lot of us,” said art student Isaiah Walker. “Seeing their faces and thinking of ways that we could reflect their lives.”

The students have decided to start the healing process with a promise to be kinder to each other.

“They’re left,” said Mrs. Olander, “thinking maybe if I’m kind to other people, we won’t be having another art show like this.”

After the paintings are done being displayed they will send them to the families of the victims.

“He had a sister,” said Walker. “He had a girlfriend. He had a lot going for him.”

Many of the mothers of the victims will be spending their first Mother’s Day without their children this weekend.

The paintings will be on display for the rest of the month. If you want to see them for yourself, the school is hosting a public showing on May 22nd from 5-7 p.m.

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