NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Dozens of students at New Smyrna Beach High School gathered before classes began Wednesday to hold a memorial demonstration for victims of gun violence.
A student activist club called Cudas For Change organized the event as a way to honor the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
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Sophomore Chelsea Lewis said the shooting hit her school especially hard because just days earlier, NSBHS freshman Ernesto Sierra-Plummer was killed in an apparent accidental shooting at his home.
"It was just a really sensitive subject as soon as Parkland happened," Lewis said. "To feel how one student impacted our school, compared to 17 there, it just had a huge effect on the community as a whole."
Outside the school, students held signs with the names of every victim who has died in a school shooting since 2015.
Later in the morning, students observed 18 minutes of silence in the school's courtyard: One minute for every victim who died in the Parkland shooting, plus another minute for Sierra-Plummer.
"I support my students who want to become educated on the issues and who wish to participate in the democratic process," NSBHS principal Karen Chenoweth said.
Several students also spoke about what kind of action they can take to make a difference.
"This event was created and organized by students," one student said. "Each one of us standing here today have the power to gather together and have a voice."
In addition to Wednesday's event, the Cudas For Change activist group has organized a "March For Life" in New Smyrna Beach on March 24. A town hall-style meeting will also be held at the school on March 29.
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