St. Andrew's Heads to D.C. to Participate in the March for Our Lives Movement
St. Andrew's Heads to D.C. to Participate in the March for Our Lives Movement
Grace Saliba

On Saturday, March 24, more than 140 St. Andrew's students and faculty loaded school buses traveling to Washington, D.C., to participate in the March for Our Lives. Arriving on Pennsylvania Avenue with energy, symbolic posters, and an open mind, our students joined thousands of students from across the country for the historic March. Faculty member Grace Saliba noted, "How incredibly moving it was for the students to watch peers of their generation brave an enormous crowd and take the stage to speak out about their experiences."

Dean of Students Will Robinson '97 explained, "I was so proud to be a part of the student-driven initiative to attend the March in D.C. It was impressive to have nearly half the school excited and waiting to board buses at 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday, but what was most impressive was the approach students took toward voicing their opinions and engaging around the issue of guns in America. Civic engagement means more than showing up; it means asking questions, pushing and stretching your own thinking, being slow to form concrete opinions, and exploring opposing points of view respectfully and with an open mind. Hearing students having these sorts of conversations throughout the day, and every day since, has proven to me that politics doesn't have to be polarizing—that we have future leaders who can transcend social media snarkiness and cable news showmanship and engage in real dialogue. It was a remarkable day that continues to live on through the students and faculty back on campus."

Religion teacher Terence Gilheaney adds: "The conversation continued when we got home. Recently a senior who had gone on the March told me about a discussion she had with a fellow St. Andrean. He was speaking of his concern for his gun rights, how he loved to hunt and did not want that right taken away. She explained her views of the kind of legislation that could address both her concerns about violence while protecting his enjoyment of hunting, and they also talked about the idea of self-defense. While they did not come to a consensus, the discussion this VI Former described to me was respectful and enlightening to both."

Religion teacher Terence Gilheaney adds: "The conversation continued when we got home. Recently a senior who had gone on the march told me about a discussion she had just had with a fellow St. Andrean. He was speaking of his concern for his gun rights, how he loved to hunt and did not want that right taken away. She explained her views of the kind of legislation that could address both her concerns about violence while protecting his enjoyment of hunting, and they also talked about the idea of self-defense. While they did not come to a consensus, the discussion this VI Former described to me was respectful and enlightening to both."

Piper Ackermann '19 reflected, "The March for Our Lives was the first time that I, as a 17-year-old student, felt like I had power that can be recognized. As I currently do not have the ability to vote, I thought that my participation in the March gave me a voice. High school students organized the entire event in D.C. and now I believe that because of their ability to unite us, high school students have the ability to make an impact on the country. Thank you St. Andrew's for giving me the opportunity to join the movement."

Third Former Griffin Pitt expressed, "For me, the March for Our Lives was life-changing. Standing there in a sea of hundreds of thousands of strangers showed me that I am not alone. The March unified thousands of people who didn't know a thing about the person next to them except that they don't want one more child killed by the lack of gun control."

Jamie Rowley '19 stated, "At the March For Our Lives, I was overcome by the strength and the courage of every single speaker and survivor of tragedies such as Parkland and Sandy Hook. To add to their strength, the support and love from the public gave me the chills as I realized how much of a difference we can make."