On Friday, May 31st, Virginia Beach was devastated by a tragedy at the Virginia Municipal Center. Twelve people lost their lives in a mass shooting that occurred in and around Building 2.

The following morning, students from Tallwood’s SCA conversed with Mrs. Johnson, the SCA sponsor, about honoring the lives lost and simultaneously involving the VBCPS.

“The conversation started and Raquan said ‘I was talking to Cassidy and we want to do a VB Day on Monday where everyone wears blue to honor the people killed.’ He even made a graphic for it. Dr. Avila started by tweeting it, and I followed, and then the SCA kids retweeted it,” said Mrs. Johnson, Tallwood’s SCA Sponsor.

It wasn’t long before the idea spread beyond Tallwood High School.

“A few hours later, Citywide SCA created a post and all of a sudden I saw Dr. Spence put it out and I thought that was really awesome. In the back of my head I thought about how this is something that started off as a simple conversation that the students came up with and then everyone in the city was wearing blue.”

Teachers and students expressed their strong feelings about the city’s mass shooting.

“I am wearing blue to honor the victims that lost their lives in the tragic shooting that happened on Friday. I’m really in shock and I’m at a loss for words because you never think that it will happen this close to home,” claimed Mrs. Voegeli, Tallwood’s GSWLA teacher.

Caroline Vordran, a GSWLA Senior, added, “I feel like it just feels so different from other mass shootings because it’s so close to home, like obviously it makes me very sad every time there’s a mass shooting, but I don’t remember the last one that made me break down and cry….And it was terrifying waiting for the list of names or the list of pictures to come out, just wondering if someone I know happened to be there that day.”

“I struggle with a lot of strong emotions after something like this, which I think is pretty common. There’s definitely a deep sense of sadness for the people who lost someone. There’s a lot of confusion, and there’s a lot of anger. There’s the kind of frustration where we think, ‘this is in our backyard, it could’ve been someone I knew, it could’ve been a school,’” stated Mr. Holland, Tallwood’s AP Government teacher.

“I didn’t know what happened until 5 hours after because I was at work, and the municipal center is three miles away from my house, and I got texts from my friends all over the US that I’m going to college with, I got texts from my friends in the Philippines, asking me if I was okay,” replied Vordran.

Tallwood teachers shared their stance on students across the city becoming involved in activism about this heartbreaking event.

“I think we should continue to build a stronger community, continue to show people that we support them, and continue to show that we value people’s lives here. I especially want students to understand that they’re valuable, they’re important, they’re significant…because if students get that sense as they’re growing up hopefully we can build a community that’s resilient to these kinds of tragedies,” Mr. Holland claimed.

“I think that the youth needs to become aware of who you’re voting for and hold their politicians accountable,” says Mrs. Voegeli.

Wearing these blue shorts helped to unite and arise a sense of community within the city. Our students at Tallwood, across the city, and across the nation can come together to to think of ways to stop these appalling tragedies.