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Remembering Parkland: Boca Raton High School moving tribute

There were tears and hugs in the courtyard at Boca Raton High School after a moving tribute to students and staff killed a year ago in Parkland. “To all those who knew and lost friends…we remember and reflect,” said Joe Antonello, co-president of student government. He called the Feb. 14 murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School “senseless.”

Seventeen desks sat empty in a semi-circle under a flag at half-mast. Each name of a student or staff killed was announced and a bell was sounded.

The school’s tree club planted a crepe myrtle earlier. They placed a plaque “to the 17 lives lost.” “In the spring it will bloom,” said Boca High principal Dr. Susie King. “One small act of kindness can change somebody’s world,” King noted. Thursday was the school’s final day to perform 17 acts of kindness.

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The school’s chorus sang “Where is the love.” The ceremony closed with a bagpiper playing “Going Home.”

“Our students are very aware of the world,” King said earlier, about why the ceremony was planned on the campus. All 3,400 students were invited, and thousands filled the courtyard for the 9:45 a.m. observance.

King and her staff wore Stoneman Douglas Proud T-shirts in solidarity with the Parkland school. Palm Beach County school board chairman Frank Barbieri Jr. attended. Extra police and security were on hand.

By Marci Shatzman

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