HEALING, MSD STRONG, NEWS — February 22, 2018 at 4:02 am

Church By the Glades invites Columbine survivor to inspire and give hope to MSD community

Church By the Glades prepares a background with #ParklandStrong after the massacre on Feb. 14. Photo by Christy Ma

On Feb. 20, 2018, Church By the Glades on Lakeview Drive welcomed a survivor and national speaker from Columbine to speak on the tragedies that have occurred across the country and the most recent one that hit Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. Crystal Miller, the special guest of the night, was a junior at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. She witnessed first hand the two gunmen murder students hiding in the media center beside her, but she was lucky enough to escape when the intruders were reloading ammunition.

Church By the Glades offered free pizza, Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches and water bottles to attendees of the event. Their hospitality was made possible by the volunteers from the church and First Priority, a Christian organization with clubs in hundreds of public schools.

“The support coming from the community has been insane,” senior Nicole Barreto said. “I have been truly amazed at how together the community has been, not only in terms of businesses and such but also friends.”

Miller retold her story to the hundreds who attended the event, most of which sounded familiar to what happened at MSD.

“The community was able to hear the story of someone who we can relate to on the tragedies we’ve faced,” Barreto said. “As someone who has gone through something similar to us and moved on, she put into perspective the fact that one day we, as a community, will be able to move on and be happy despite the horrors we have gone through.”

First Priority and the church advertised the visitation of the Columbine speaker days before the event. Photo courtesy of First Priority.

The night full of music intended to restore the community and the broken-hearted was one that was much needed in order for healing to take place.

“I hope the community’s response will not turn into those of previous shootings,” junior Calista Ng said. “I hope it will be remembered as not only just a tragedy, but a catalyst for change and that we have had enough of this unnecessary violence.”

Although Parkland and Coral Springs have sustained many hardships during this dark time, locals of South Florida hope to bounce back and invoke change and healing.

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Christy is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and an editor for the Eagle Eye. She loves travel, food, puppies, and meeting new people. She is an officer of Mu Alpha Theta, English Honor Society, and Science National Honor Society and aspires to work in the medical field.


  1. Cece Kaufmann

    Hey! Just want to say that I’m a member of the high school newspaper at south high school which is in Minneapolis Minnesota. This is an amazing article and as a high school student and human I stand with all of you and hope you and your community can work toward healing and making much needed change. Please let me know if there is anway our newspaper, school, or I can help you all. ??

  2. Janet Deutsch

    To all of the MSD community: You will CHANGE our country. I am a school nurse in Littleton, CO and so proud of your courage. Columbine should have been the last school tragedy but it was not. You are making positive change with all of your voices. Thank you for all of your tremendous efforts!

  3. Christopher Gasti

    I grew up in Central Florida and at 57 I now live in New York City. As an arts administrator I work with students in the public school stayed here. I am so very proud of all of you. You are an inspiration. I am sorry that my generation has let you down. Please know that many of us ARE on your side. We will walk the walk and fight the fight with you.

  4. Grandma and Grandpa

    Message from a baby boomer grandma and grandpa, both retired academics: we love you and are so so proud of you. Stay the course. Pray. Rest. Apply (as one of your earlier contributors referenced) this gift of new knowledge to research, publishing books and articles on how you are making a difference. Remember your fellow students and adults murdered by entering our institutions of higher education and making continuous lifelong differences. Through you, years of complacency and critical thinking lacking, will be no more in American colleges and universities.

    Mentally ill persons should not have access to guns and assault weapons and neither should evil and dangerous persons. Since it is not possible to classify all persons dangerous, vindictive or even having a grudge against another, unrealistic or otherwise, we believe it extremely important to focus on making it illegal to own assault weapons in the USA.

  5. From a retired Canadian school teacher. I know I speak for many of my colleagues and friends north of the border when I express to you our utmost sadness and condolences at the loss of 17 of your friends and staff. Often, many of us in Canada at are a loss to understand the gun culture of our American neighbours, and I cannot even begin to imagine the horrors you faced last week. Since then, though, I am so absolutely impressed with the passion and commitment of the students of MSD in their mission to change the gun laws. I know myself and others in Canada have watched over the years when the US has dealt with these horrendous events, but as an outside observer, this is the first time I have ever sensed that there is hope that things could change, because of the passion of your students. Please know that the world is watching, and that MSD students are supported in their mission by many others in the US, around the world. Thank you, MSD, and I hope that this is truly a “never again” turning point.
    David New, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
    (p.s. – on a somewhat practical note, I am sure if you set up some kind of fund to assist your mission, you would receive financial support from many people)

  6. So proud of all of you! We are with you! We are so sorry to have let you down. Something should of been done twenty years ago!

  7. riccardocarmagnola

    Christy Ma, thank you for this post. Its very inspiring.

  8. Reagan Feher

    Hey there,
    You MSD men and women are now my biggest heros. Since the day of the attack I have read every article, news story, seen every video, picture, and show pertaining your event. This is coming from Whitby, Ontario in Canada. I know many people here still talking about the horrific things you have had to face. We agree #enoughisenough. I hope every day to see an update on gun laws in America. We stand with you here. Lots of love, hugs, kisses, and cheers sent your way.

    Thank you, you are all truly heros in your own rights.

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