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Two Current SU Students and Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Alumni at "March For Our Lives"

Liam McMonagle

This weekend's “March for Our Lives” brought a crowd that numbered 2,000 or more to downtown Syracuse. Among them were two alumni of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the Florida school where 17 people were killed in February.

Sisters Devon and Sydney March, now both students at SU, said they were very moved by the support they received and very impressed with the large turnout.

Sydney said being in the march was a sobering reminder for participants that these issues are closer to home than they appear.

“Like we said our town is so safe.  I never thought that would have happened. And I feel like that’s such a good example of how it can happen at our school. It can happen at literally any school,” said Sydney.

Devon echoed the same ideas, noting that her friends say past interactions with the alleged gunman were not always out of the ordinary.

 “This spring break when I was with my friends and the ones who knew him, and we were talking, I’d always ask ‘What was he like?’ They said he could be in this circle talking right now and you wouldn’t really realize,” said Devon. “Am I supposed to fear everyone now?”

Devon also said she’d prefer the nation focus its attention on the stories of bravery displayed by Douglas teachers and students.

“I think the emphasis on people like Coach Feis, the people who were heroic, Peter I believe who held the door open. I think those stories are really important to share. The people who are using this tragedy to try and make a silver lining out of everything I feel like those are the most important stories,” said Devon.

The March sisters remember the shooter from when they were in school … and recall he was reported for being dangerous and potentially violent.

Devon graduated from Stoneman Douglas less than one year ago. Her sister—Sydney—graduated in 2014. Sydney participated in Color Guard throughout high school, and spoke about how she felt when she learned that one of the victims was a member of their team.

Devon and Sydney remember back to the time when they found out the horrific, deadly shooting had occurred in their High School.

“It was overwhelming to know that this girl who was part of our family, my extended family in a way. I’ve never met her, but I’m like her. I have friends who were like her.  She wears the same uniform; she wears the same name,” said Sydney.

Although they graduated 3 years apart, both young women recognize the unique role that their alma mater now plays in the growing conversation about gun violence across the nation.

They comment on whether school safety measure now being proposed would have made a difference.

“I hate to say it. I mean obviously it’s terrible to have a tragedy, but to have that silver lining, I don’t think any schools can ever top that. I hope not. I hope no school ever has to go through that. If we have to be the one that ends it then I’m okay with that.”

Both girls proudly marched wearing their school colors and carrying signs, one reading, “Don’t let your school be next.”