York Catholic High School students seek positive ideas on National School Walkout Day

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YORK, Pa. — One month after the deadly school shooting in Florida, thousands of students across the country walked out of class Wednesday morning as part of National School Walkout Day.

Some students took a different approach as many schools decided to use the demonstration as a teachable moment.

Students and administrators at York Catholic High School decided to use the day as an opportunity to not necessarily learn from a book, but each other.

While students nationwide walked out of their schools, York Catholic High School students decided to walk into their auditorium.

York Catholic High School student council president Brian Hand said "why would you walk out of school, rather why wouldn’t you make 17 new friends, or why wouldn’t you compliment 17 people? Isn’t that a better way of spreading love in your community?"

York Catholic High School principal Katie Seufert said "walking out is not productive. It’s not safe, and it’s not really going to resonate with the mission of our school. So, how can we take our spiritual mission at York Catholic and translate that into something that will be powerful for our entire student body."

One-by-one, 17 students offered a prayer and a memory for each of the 17 lives list in the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

"Each individual got their own bible verse, got their own slide show slide, that everyone was acknowledged as an individual not just as a group, not as just a headline. Seventeen people lost their lives in Parkland, but it’s every single individual who has something to give," Hand said.

"It was more powerful than any of us would have anticipated," Seufert said.

Students took a chance to give back to their fellow classmates with a message, “#What’s Your 17.”

"Smiling, helping someone with their schoolwork 17 times, giving 17 hugs, giving 17 smiles," Hand said.

The social media meme challenges students and teachers to think of ways to make their community a better place.

"I saw some of them choked up. I saw some of them maybe take inspiration from something that their peer had already said. I like that it’s anonymous so they can be inspired by someone, they don’t know if it’s their best friend, or someone in a different grade level," Seufert said.

"It’s emotional. These people who you pass everyday in the hallway, often times you don’t really think much of it, you see them every day, you say hi, and that’s it. You might see them at practice after school, but today definitely calls them to kind of really take notice of who’s on their left and who’s on their right, and that this is their family. These are there classmates," Hand said.

"Hopefully, it will be something that is profound for sometime," Seufert said.

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