In light of the third anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, 2018, several staff members participated in the tying of personalized ribbons on 17 trees on Feb. 2. This was done in order to honor the 17 victims. The project was inspired by drama teacher Melody Herzfeld as a way to commemorate those lost and represent them on campus.
The tradition first began last year when Herzfeld heard others talk about how there was nothing honoring the victims on the campus itself. She felt as though she should take on the task and come up with a respectful way to remember them. In doing so, Herzfeld bought the ribbons and tied them on 17 trees between the 600/700 buildings and the 1200/1300 buildings.
In order to ensure that each ribbon represented each individual, Herzfeld had all of them be unique, incorporating the victims’ names. Moreover, certain aspects of the ribbons symbolize characteristics of those lost.
“I selected, ordered and purchased the ribbons for each tree to represent each of our Eagles,” Herzfeld said. “Each interior tree ribbon has a significant ribbon design or color and the burgundy ribbon for the school, as well as their name.”
This year, the group decided to renew the ribbons placed on the donated trees that were planted alongside the football field. It was important to the staff members to ensure that they continued to shine and reflect on the beauty of each of the fallen.
“Due to weather and time, the original ribbons were worn and fraying,” secretary and participant Debbie Wanamaker said. “To me, it was important to honor each victim and personalize the tree by adding one strand of a ribbon with a design or color symbolizing each of the 17.”
While participating in the project, the staff members found that it contributed to their healing, being there to support one another.
“I chose to participate because as we approach the commemoration, I draw strength spending time with my friends who get what I am feeling as we go into this difficult week,” Wanamaker said.
In the midst of this overwhelming time, Herzfeld believes that it is essential that we continue to stand tall as a community, remembering the beauty of MSD, along with those lost.
“Our school is not a negative, ugly place. Our campus has sung with great joy in its corridors,” Herzfeld said. “It’s a beautiful, proud place for us all. The beautification should be evident at every turn. We have to continue to take back our school and be proud to be an Eagle.”
This commemoration to honor the 17 fallen eagles is one of many to have occurred this week. For more information, click here.