Delavan-Darien High School students Olivia Patterson and Giovanni Cruz lead an estimated 300 students in a chant Wednesday morning during a school walkout event. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

An estimated 300 students gathered outside the front entrance of Delavan-Darien High School at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning in what student organizers said was a 17-minute rally to honor the 17 students and staff members killed in last month’s school shooting in Florida and to encourage students to reach out to classmates they don’t normally associate with.

The event was organized as part of the National School Walkout, but the focus was on empowering local students to make a difference, according to organizer Olivia Patterson, a junior at the school.

“It was a lot more than talking about gun control and gun reform,” Patterson said. “We wanted to make sure that students who had opinions, had perspectives, who had fear, knew where to channel that fear and uncertainty into a productive place.”

During the gathering organizers provided information to assist students who wanted to contact local legislators or register to vote.

At the end of the gathering, Patterson urged students to reach out to 17 other students they normally don’t have contact with in an attempt to make the school a more welcoming and cohesive place (see video below).

Several parents stood by to watch and some shouted words of support to the students.

Principal Jim Karedes said the school was not involved in organizing or sanctioning the event, but staff was dedicated to making sure students were safe.

For additional photos and coverage of the event, see the March 22 edition of the Delavan Enterprise.

VIDEO: Delavan-Darien High School walkout organizer Olivia Patterson addresses students at the conclusion of Wednesday morning’s gathering.



1 Comment

  1. Dave Block says:

    So proud of the DDHS students for the positive way they handled this important issue. Olivia and her group did their homework and took a few minutes of school time to learn some important civics lessons about participatory democracy. They didn’t blame, whine or demand others to do something for them or take something away., They went to the heart of the problem – adolescent isolation – and came up with some positive remedies that they, themselves can, and will do.

    Proud also of the school staff and administration for allowing students to exercise their constitutional rights.

    “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.”

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