Published in the March 19, 2018 edition.

WAKEFIELD — The following statement was sent to the families of Galvin Middle School students on Thursday, March 15 by Adam Colantuoni, Principal:

Good afternoon Galvin families,

I want to share with you that our student walkout took place this morning at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes. Students in grades 7 and 8, who turned in permission slips and wore a bracelet, quietly and respectfully walked out of their class to the gym where they sat in the bleachers.

Approximately 150 students participated in this event and the decision for students who chose not to participate was respected and honored by classmates.

A student leadership team welcomed their peers and began by thanking the Wakefield Public Schools and Wakefield Police Department for keeping our school safe and supporting their walkout.

A team of 17 students led the speaking activities which included a moment of silence for each victim who lost their lives in the Parkland school shooting.

As each victim’s name was read by a Galvin student, a pledge was taken to honor this person’s life by acting in a way that represented what our students learned about each of the lives lost. Examples included, “we will put others before ourselves,” “we will smile more,” “we will be positive,” “we will be inclusive,” and “we will serve our community.”

Upon reading all 17 names, the students held a five minute moment of silence before reading short messages of hope, community, taking care of one another, and becoming the leaders of their generation.

The closing statement read by a student included a quote from musician John Legend.

“If you hear this message, wherever you stand, I’m calling every woman, calling every man. We’re the generation. We can’t afford to wait. The future started yesterday and we’re already late.”

At the conclusion of the 17 minutes, students walked quietly back to their classes.

Today was an opportunity to empower students who advocated for themselves to have their voices heard and participate in an event that was important to them while at the same time respecting the rights of those who did not want to participate.

The message today at our school was about honoring lives lost and building a stronger community by taking care of one another and doing the right thing.

We are proud of the efforts these students put toward organizing this event, communicating with their classmates, and leading a safe, respectful, and powerful student-led assembly.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate complex situations and balance the needs of all students in our school.

Have a great afternoon.