On Sunday, Aug. 18, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School welcomed the installation of a new banner adorned with printed trees. This newest addition to the school now covers the 12-foot fence surrounding the 1200 building.
Prior to the installment of the new banner, the 1200 building fence was covered with small posters of support from local businesses and high schools from around the country. All of the old posters were removed with the help of the Leadership class.
“We have a storage area for the banners,” MSD principal Michelle Kefford said. “Some of the banners, unfortunately, because of the sun and all of the elements, have fallen apart a little bit, but the ones that are still intact are in a storage area. We haven’t discussed where we will put those but we do have them.”
Lori Alhadeff, the mother of slain MSD student Alyssa Alhadeff, had the idea to wrap the 1200 building fence one year ago. However, the plan did not become a reality until recently.
“I looked into it and the cost was really expensive, so I just felt that we had to focus the money on other things,” Alhadeff said. “But then I had a few parents contact me and express an interest in doing something like this. So I decided to explore it further; let’s really, truly look at the cost.”
Along with help from Parkland mother, Adriene Auster, the two raised $5,000 on GoFundMe to pay for the banner. An anonymous donor also contributed $15,000.
“In working together with Lori and with our supplier we were able to get the cost down a lot, and a majority of the funds were donated,” Auster said. “I decided to go to GoFundMe because I know it has impacted so many people and had been so helpful.”
In the earlier stages of their project, Alhadeff and Auster had to gain the approval of several individuals higher up the ladder. In addition to talking to Kefford, the States Attorney’s office, as well as the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, were consulted on the project.
“When we first decided this was going to happen I talked to the printer and then went to BSO,” Auster said. “They told me that we needed to get approval from the State Attorney’s Office and that there were a lot of hoops. They didn’t think that it was going to be able to happen.”
In July, a date was set for a meeting between the State Attorney’s Office, a crime scene specialist, Alhadeff and Auster. Finally, a decision was made to allow the banner to be placed around the 1200 building.
Students were not caught by surprise when they entered MSD on Monday, Aug.19. Over the weekend Kefford had sent out a parent link phone call to inform MSD families of Alhadeff’s project. However, when students came to face-to-face with the banner, it fell short of their expectations.
“This banner is more bold and draws my eyes towards the building more,” senior Alejandro Rodriquez said. “It seems useless to me. I like the other banners much more because it reminded me of all the support we had from our MSD Strong community.”
Despite the intent behind the new banner in having a positive influence, most MSD students agree with Rodriquez.
“I really just don’t enjoy the banner,” junior Madeline Dwyer said. “It doesn’t cover the building entirely and it’s actually kind of see-through. Honestly, the bright trees just make me look at the building more. I liked the old banners better.”