At the request of student leaders, Red Bank Catholic dedicated today’s school day for our student body to stand in solidarity with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, to offer prayers for those who were slain, as well as for those who survived the attack there on February 14th and for all who have died through gun violence in schools across our nation. The March 20th Day of Prayer, Remembrance, and School Safety was planned and led by the student members of Casey Campus Ministry along with members of student council, performing arts, Caseys4Life, and Catholic Athletes for Christ.
All students and faculty attended a Prayer Service to start the day, featuring student-written reflections about the sanctity of all life, sportsmanship and leadership in the school community, the importance of being involved and supporting each other, and student-produced videos about school safety. The RBC Liturgical Dancers performed two prayerful songs during the service, and Casey Campus Ministry student leader Austin Nappi delivered a powerful address about the importance of continued prayer and having God in our hearts when we take action to make positive change. The students ended the service with an emotional ceremony in which they lit a candle and prayed a Hail Mary for each of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting.
Each grade then rotated through a series of speakers. Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden came to speak to our students about the power of social media and its legal implications. He also instructed them about how law enforcement first responders react to active incidents, and praised and encouraged RBC in their security efforts and safety drills. Campus Safety Officer Mr. Robert Heyer discussed the importance of following RBC safety protocols during the school day, and provided an opportunity for the students to ask questions. Police officer and nationally acclaimed speaker Tim Shoemaker shared his personal experience with family and personal hardships, and how instead of retreating down a destructive path, he wasn’t afraid to reach out for help that a local police officer offered to him who then became his mentor. That decision changed his life for the better.
The day’s events were coordinated entirely by students who worked together to cope with difficult real world events and find ways they can make positive change. It was an impactful day for everyone involved. Junior David Glancy said, "today gave me a different perspective of how I view school safety and how I value life. I was proud to be a part of Red Bank Catholic today." Senior Bridget Byrne called it "a very inspiring and heartwarming day.” Austin Nappi added, "I'm really proud of the way our student body stood up for the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Our prayers were united, powerful and they were heard. Everyone who was involved in putting this together was instrumental in making this the impactful event it was. The pride I have in Red Bank Catholic was stronger than ever today."