By Marnie McAllister, Record Editor
For a somber 17 minutes, nearly 200 Presentation Academy students stood silently in the sun as a 21-degree wind chill whipped around them at the corner of Fourth and Breckinridge Streets.
They had walked out of class and withstood the cold, many with bare legs under their blue plaid skirts, in honor of the 17 students killed by gunfire in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14 and to call for an end to gun violence.
They were among thousands of students in the Archdiocese of Louisville and around the nation who participated in the 17-minute long National School Walkout -and other activities at 10 a.m. March 14, one month after the Parkland shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Jefferson County Public Schools and some Catholic schools had given students permission to participate. Some school systems and individual non-public schools did not give permission, but some students planned to walk out anyway.
Presentation students spent part of the 17-minute observance standing arm-in-arm outside the school — as passing cars offered short toots of their horns in support — and then concluded with a prayer service in the school’s courtyard. Some faculty and staff joined them.
In addition to Presentation, several other Catholic schools shared their plans to participate. Our Lady of Lourdes School walked out of class and into the church for a prayer service. St. Albert the Great School marked March 14 as a Day of Praying for Peace.
St. Bernard School eighth-graders prayed the rosary and read names of recent school shooting victims aloud. St. Martha School planned to hold a school-wide Peace Rally and prayer service at 2 p.m. March 14.
John Paul II Academy is planning a school liturgy for peace on March 21.
Trinity High School held a prayer service beforehand — a special Stations of the Cross with meditations written by teachers and students. The service was held outdoors in the school’s stadium. Students also wrote letters to elected officials about gun violence.