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Walkout Speeches


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On the morning of March 15, 2018, students of Kennebunk High School decided to take action against a system that has repeatedly let them down and left them asking the ever-so present question of “Why?” A month prior, a deadly shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which left 17 dead, dozens more wounded, and a nation torn once again by a tragedy that worked to deepen partisan divides and continued to highlight the ineffectiveness of our trusted representatives. Instead of laying down and allowing this tragedy to tear the nation asunder once again, students decided to take action. Energized by their experiences as the generation of shootings, the generation that lives in constant fear of losing their lives in the place where they are supposed to feel the safest, students at Kennebunk High School stood up and made their voices heard. Ten students helped gather at least half of the student body outside of the front doors and gave a variety of speeches ranging across a variety of forms from poetry, energizing motivational words, a series of thank you’s, and personal statements about the tragedy. Students patiently watched, listened, and cheered at the charisma shown by their classmates.

To put it simply, there was an aura to the walkout. As someone who participated I can assuredly say that as a student body we tackled the fears that everyone had about going outside and made sure that no matter what, everyone felt safe. Before walking out I can vividly remember students seriously saying “I don’t know… It isn’t safe.” Instead, not only was it safe, but it was energetic, solemn, and inspiring. Students were respectful and attentive to what their peers had to say, no matter their political or moral beliefs on the issue. When I went out I felt that we were finally putting an end to politicians ignoring us, belittling us, and telling us that “we don’t know what we’re talking about.” No matter what side students took on that fateful day, they exercised their right to free and political speech. For that, we as a student body should be proud. For those that stayed inside, you made your voices heard. For those who walked out, you made your voices heard. No matter what, we made a difference, and participated in a movement that will work to shape our political legacy.

What you’re about to read are the speeches given by the ten students on that day. Remember while reading these that even if you disagree with their message or their delivery, all Americans have the right to express their political beliefs. It is your responsibility to respect them and give them the space to do this, just as they would do for you. Just because they disagree with you does not mean they are inferior, nor does it mean that they are somehow of a lesser intelligence than you are. To make things clear, I personally disagree with how the walkout was organized and executed and the message given by some of the speakers was not in agreeance with my personal political beliefs. This does NOT mean that what these speakers have said is any less important or any less valid. Please keep this in mind as you continue.

 

  1. Molly Hetzel (Junior)

 

Hi everyone! So could you just raise your hand right now if you’re afraid to be out here right now, if you’re afraid that someone might drive up with bad intentions and a gun. Because I am. And that was taken into consideration when deciding whether this protest should be inside or outside. But the more scared we are, the more reason we have to be out here, right? Isn’t that the whole reason we’re walking out. We shouldn’t have to be afraid any more.

Regardless of why you are here, whether it is to honor the lives lost in Parkland or to ask our government for a change in gun control policies, thank you for taking a stand against gun violence. The people who are about to speak are from every grade, and reflect very different points of view on how to solve the problem we are facing. These 17 minutes are not a time to argue or debate, but a time to listen to and not interrupt what others have to say, whether you agree or not. But these 17 minutes should also be the opening to more conversations. We hope this is the beginning of change in our school and in our country.

 

  1. Adelin Barstow (Freshman)

When discussing the topic of gun violence and the most recent mass shootings many people have been throwing the term “mental health” around in their conversations and debates, without fully understand the words they are using, or the differentiation between “mental health” and “mental illness” because they are not the same. Mental health is defined as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being” whereas mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion, and/or behavior. Mental illness is a medical condition, it is not an excuse for the killing of innocent children.

 

This is not a democratic issue, this is not a republican issue, this is not independent issue, this is not a mental health or mental illness issue, this is a gun violence issue, period. And in order to bring an end to the gun violence issues that have begun to affect of day to day lives we need to work together, for the sake of the well being of our country and the safety of our children. It is imperative that we address this as soon and as efficiently as possible, and as of now the best way to do that is with the proposed background check for those purchasing firearms. This background check would include and be mainly made up of a thorough mental health check to insure that those purchasing firearms are of sound mind and are not at risk of any mental illnesses.

 

  1. Elona Bodwell (Sophomore)

 

From 1966 to exactly a month ago 1077 people have died in mass shootings in the US alone

There have been 292 guns used

167 of those guns were obtained by mass shooters… legally

(And we are unsure about another 76 of those weapons)

Every year, month, and week we receive heartbreaking news of more lives lost due to gun violence.

Parkland was different, the students raised their voices until they were heard. They continue to educate themselves, they continue to organize protests, and they continue to meet with political figures to discuss the changes that need to be made.

We Need to do the Same.

Let’s begin addressing the issues that should’ve been addressed years ago.

Let’s all come together and get things done so that none of us have to go to school anymore with the constant terrifying thought of a very possible school shooting existing in our minds.

 

Thank you all for being here,

Thank you molly, carly, and allison for being the empowering women and leaders I have had the immense honor of organizing this walkout with.

 

Do not let this shut you down, wake up

 

  1. Alden Coldreck (Sophomore)

 

I would like to read a poem called “Bulletproof Teen” written by Katie Houde, a junior at Rockland High School in Massachusetts.

 

Run if you can

Hide, if you can’t

If neither, fight

The fighting isn’t to save you

It’s to save the next class, the next hall

It’s to give them a couple more seconds

To get there, to stop it

I am a child, a teenager

But, I am also a bulletproof vest

A diversion

A fighting chance for others

Hope in the form of distraction

I am blood and flesh

But I need to be kevlar and fabric

Minimal casualties

Minimal children dead

Minimal little girls and boys

Minimal college applicants

Minimal honors students

But, not none.

The Constitution doesn’t allow for none.

That document is living

But will I be?

 

  1. Charlie Metcalfe (Junior)

 

The time for numbness in the face of tragedy is past!

 

The answer to our problem is not more guns, not turning our schools into fortresses, and ESPECIALLY not tolerance for the paid-off politicians, the flimsy regulations, and the organizations which allowed for someone like Nikolas Cruz to somehow obtain and use an AR-15 in the first place.

 

We need a long term-solution to this problem. A school which feels the need to arm its teachers is not a school which I, nor anyone else, should feel compelled to attend. A school which arms its teachers is certainly not one I’d like to send my own children to.

 

Together we can build a world where that is not a concern- Demand action from corrupt politicians; fortify the regulations, and fix this problem at its source- the gun industry, and the dangerous or ill people that have slipped through the cracks a few hundred too many times.

 

So register to vote as soon as you can! Make yourself heard! The power is in our hands, and the thousands of others who join us in standing up today across the country. Together, we WILL make NEVER AGAIN a reality.

 

Thank you.

 

  1. Eli Richardson (Junior)

What happened in Parkland and what has happened at schools around the nation is awful and saddening, and unfortunately there is no turning back the clock to stop those tragedies. However, although this in no way minimizes these horrific shootings, the events following Parkland have provided opportunity, and perhaps even a sort of hope, for students across the nation. With students at that school finally standing up and not pleading, but demanding for new legislation and the enforcement of existing legislation regarding gun control, they have played a huge part in hopefully ensuring that one day, children will have truly safe places to learn. I hope that is why all of us are here today, to remember and mourn the students killed at the Parkland shooting, but also to play our part in a solution, to stand up to the fear that events like this may cause and unite in hope of a better future.

 

  1. Ed York (Senior)

 

(Did not write speech just used prior knowledge to explain his view)

 

  1. Owen Manahan (Senior)

 

(No speech received)

 

  1. Izzy Toth (Senior)

 

Hey everyone,

I’m only up here to talk about one word. And it’s not one that you would necessarily think of first hand when you look at this debate — you most likely think of words with shock value. “Kids”, “death”, “rights”, and “gun”. But I’m not talking about those words, I’m talking about the word “Target”. And I want everyone here to think about this word, because it’s actually used in almost every side of this debate. “Kids are the target of shooters”, “We have to market and target millenials”, “arm schools to make them less of a target”.

 

And this word is really snuck in there, like I said, it’s hard to detect. But this word can start to bear down on us, and when you start to see yourself as a target, trust me I know, you start feeling like you’re losing your fire and the fear comes in. And fear can lead to complacency and complacency is the enemy of activism, the only thing that we can do to make whatever we want to have happen, happen. Complacency kills what we’re doing here today. So don’t buy into feeling like a target. We’re not targets, we’re activists. <3

 

  1. Dakota Aylward-Frank (senior)

 

I would like to thank everyone for supporting us in the fight for a change and our safety. On behalf of the senior class of 2018, we have full trust that as we leave, our incoming seniors, juniors, and sophomore can teach and guide the growing classes. Teach them to speak up, to never be put down, and to discriminate. You are the future of Kennebunk High School. Make the change, the change we need to not be afraid to come to school, the change for a safety community, and the rise for a stronger nation. Enough is enough.  

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1 Comment

One Response to “Walkout Speeches”

  1. Ian Zogg on May 14th, 2018 1:01 pm

    Beautifully written article!

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Walkout Speeches