In the weeks leading up to the one month anniversary of the Parkland mass school shooting, various student leaders from high schools throughout SFUSD planned a city wide walkout in conjunction with other schools throughout the nation. It was held on March 14th, beginning at Civic Center and ending at the SF Aquatic Park. The purpose was to bring up awareness for gun control, student voice, and the importance of voting. Furthermore, each school was encouraged to conduct its own activities or host workshops prior to the walkout that would bring awareness to those key topics.
Despite the heavy rain, large delegations of students from nearly all SFUSD high schools began walking out of their campus as early as 10 a.m. However, given Galileo Academy’s close distance from City Hall, the school’s delegation met at the Francisco St. gate and left campus around 10:30 a.m.
“I walked out because I believe it gives students the power and voice to express how we feel about important issues that affect us,” says senior Glen Yu.
By 11:40 a.m., many SFUSD high schools were present at the Polk St. entrance steps of City Hall, where a speaker system was already set up. Various students were given the opportunity to voice their opinions and views by presenting speeches or even poems. Students were determined to have their voices heard and encouraged their fellow peers as they spoke.
Representing Galileo Academy, seniors Emily Montiel and Angelina Padilla, gave a speech and recited a poem, respectively. “I’m usually very quiet and follow the rules, but I made an exception,” says Angelina, “The only individuals whose feelings I accounted for were those of the Stoneman Douglas students.”
After some speeches were made, the hundreds of high school students then proceeded to march down the streets of Market St. and the Embarcadero before ending at Pier 39 and the SF Aquatic Park. Students then filled up the Aquatic Park bleachers and those who were not able to speak at City Hall were then given the opportunity to do so.
Mr. Amador, a Galileo counselor who was present at the walk out with students, says, “To see young people take over is encouraging because it shows the torch being passed to them in fixing problems my generation couldn’t.”
In regards to Galileo’s on-site activities leading up to the massive walk out, Emily Montiel and Jason Ng worked with Ms. Benau and Ms. Arkin in organizing a school walk out “assembly” that would bring awareness to the Parkland school shooting as well as promoting school unity and spirit. The original plan was to have students gather in the football field, surround the logo in the middle, and give students the opportunity to speak. Unfortunately, due to the rain that day, student speakers had to pre-record their speeches and poems, which were then broadcasted on G-House TV at the beginning of 3rd period.