VERO BEACH — Seventeen bags, each with a name written on them, lined the field during a vigil at a local high school honoring those killed in a school mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.
When the name of each victim was called, officials placed an electric candle inside each bag to honor them, said School District spokeswoman Cristen McMillan.
“It was a very emotional night; very serene, peaceful and moving,” McMillan said. “We’re very proud of our community for gathering in honor of the families and in memory of the victims.”
More than 300 adults and children sat in the bleachers with their candlelights from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Citrus Bowl at Vero Beach High School, 1707 16th Street. They listened to several speakers at the event, including Schools Superintendent Mark Rendell.
Julia White, Indian River County Council Parent Teachers Association 2nd chair vice president, introduced the speakers. Sisters Kacy and Nancy Carvajal sung a rendition of “God Bless America” and Edmund Nalzaro sung “You Raise Me Up.”
Community activist Michael Marsh read a poem dedicated to the victims.
The event was part of a statewide vigil, organized by the Florida PTA, held in 15 counties to honor the students who lost their lives, McMillan said. The dates for the other vigils held were not immediately available.
Authorities said on Feb. 14, Nikolas Cruz, 19, fatally shot 17 people and injured others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz, a former student at the school, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
The School District plans to send pictures and letters from students at all local schools to Stoneman Douglas High School students to receive on their first day back to school on Monday, McMillan said.
There will be hundreds of letters and pictures from students of all ages. The letters will have words of encouragement and comfort and the younger students will likely draw pictures, McMillan said.
Photos provided by School District of Indian River County