ERHS Drama Department Pays Tribute to Stoneman Douglas Victims

Sabrina Moorer, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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This year, February 14th meant more than just Valentine’s Day. It marked the one year anniversary of the mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where seventeen people were killed and countless others were harmed. The gun violence witnessed in Parkland sent a jolt through the hearts of many, with classmates of the victims rising up to enact change in America’s gun laws. Additionally, the nation-wide March For Our Lives protests were organized last March and had the largest youth-led protest turnout since the Vietnam War.

The drama department at Eleanor Roosevelt HS decided to produce a play to pay tribute to the victims and raise awareness about the gun violence that continues to plague this country. Declaration was written by Johnathan Dorf, and was set in the aftermath of a school shooting at ERHS. The play was free, however, audience members were asked to give a donation that would support the March For Our Lives.

“When you hear about it on the news you think that it’s over there,” remarked junior ensemble member Zion Watkins. “The audience was really able to get into it because the issue of gun violence in schools connects with everyone, whether you are a student, teacher, parent or administrator.”

Senior Meghan Paternoster reflected on her experience.

“I got covered in goosebumps five minutes in. Watching the actors go about their days at school the same way we do, doing the same exact things we do, and then their lives are just taken.”

After the performances, there were open discussions with the audience and local community members reflecting on the issue of gun violence and what can be done specifically in Greenbelt to combat the issue.

“The audience responded really well and we were able to open up a very meaningful conversation!” declared Watkins.

Declaration only had two showings, but both attracted significant crowds. At this time there is no official word on if the play will run again, but cast members and viewers alike agree that Declaration addresses an important societal issue that should not be overlooked.

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