The pain struck everyone

A school community confronts tragedy

By Marilyn Johnson | May | June 2020
The pain that struck everyone regarding what happened on November 14, 2019 is indescribable. It rippled throughout us as Saugus students, as family members, as friends, and as a community mourned together for the victims of not only bullets but also depression. Our senses will forever be made different. For example, whenever I listen to music or a podcast I always make sure to leave one earbud out so I can hear what is going on in the scary world around me, just to make sure. Whenever I enter a room, I always picture ways of that day happening all over again and how to react with my current surroundings.  Even though the shooting at Saugus High has changed us and taught us to be more careful with our environment, it has also made us come to the realization that everyone’s life matters, including those that aren’t directly connected to us. Altruistic organizations such as the Linus Project and those who aided us through recovery know that, and with their actions have reached their helping hands out to us when we struggled to face reality. Even the gift of a blanket comforted us as its symbolism brought us together into a tighter community.  The teachers and staff, as well as the school board, lengthened our respect towards them by not only acting as leaders on November 14 when we had nowhere to turn, but also as people we know we can look up to as they gave us the time and consideration of coping in our own ways at school and at home. The donations that came from homes all around the world that aided towards our school’s recovery, such as the Wellness Center, along with the therapists, service dogs, other students, and volunteers, helped us to feel a greater sense of the community that we live in. The individual imprints of these people and organizations made the day that we came back to school not just filled with fear, but more importantly, filled with empathy, compassion, and love. We were happy to comfort one another once again and to return to our lives as students who will eventually be nurtured into influential leaders.  After the shooting, we were given opportunities to share our experience and give our advice for our changing society in matters that regarded ours in order to help make our civilization safer and allowing for greater improvement. Because of our experiences, I believe that we will grow into congenial individuals that will make the most of our cherished time to spend it with others, and, just like the rippling sensation of fear that we were faced with, we will continue to be determined to impact the world in an auspicious and encouraging way. With the leadership that we have been shown, it has influenced us to connect with others that we didn’t know before, care for those who need caring, and understand that in a world of positive and negative events alike, we can overcome any obstacle with the help and love of one another.  We will forever be Saugus Strong. 

Marilyn Johnson is a student at Saugus High School in the William S. Hart Union High School District

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Association of California School Administrators