Assembly Against Gun Violence

SHENANDOAH -- Hundreds of students gathered at a high school in Schuylkill County Friday morning to mark the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.

Instead of staging a walkout, they held an assembly.

The 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School was designated as a National School Walkout Day to protest gun violence.

Students at Shenandoah Valley High School wanted to be a part of the demonstration without walking out of class so they held an assembly and invited students from all of the high schools in the county to join.

"This has made me feel unsafe in my school and it made me realize that I do have a voice and that I could stand up," Abby Conroy said.

The students at Shenandoah Valley High School were not even alive when the Columbine shooting happened on this date in 1999, but with shootings continuing to happen at schools across the country, they felt they needed to do something.

The students say instead of walking out of class, they wanted to come together to encourage one another to become leaders in their communities.

Students from four other high schools in the county also attended the event.

"I felt that in our day and age, it's important for the youth to use their voices and with our county, small county, small town, I wanted to unite everyone together to unite our voices as one," said Shenandoah Valley senior Hunter Breznik.

"It's really relevant in today's society with what's going on," Conroy said.

The students invited county commissioners, the district attorney, law enforcement and other community leaders to the assembly.

"These are going to be our future leaders. These are the folks that are going to be taking my job some day and you know running the county or running the state or whatever it might be," said Schuylkill County Commissioner Gary Hess.

At the end of the assembly, the students all took a pledge to become leaders in their community and inspire change.

They'll use the hashtag #SchuylkillStandup to document their progress on social media.

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