February 14th began like any other day.
"I love you" said Alyssa's mom once she dropped her daughter off at school.
And Nicholas, Meadow, Helena and Carmen were studying diligently to pass their finals.
Like in many high schools, the music from the marching band and orchestra filled the halls with joy
Especially with the musical talents of Gina and Alex.
Alaina spent her days volunteering at hurricane relief shelters, while Peter was in the Reserve Officers Training Corps.
Jaime, Luke, Cara and Joaquin colored the world with their smiles, art and joy.
Martin joked with his older brother as usual, generating a wave of joyful chuckles.
Mr. Hixon and Mr. Feis, devoted athletic teachers, couldn't wait to coach the next game.
And Mr. Beigl wanted nothing more but to teach his young students about the beautiful world we live in.
All of a sudden,
Not even a moment,
Before the world,
The deafening shots will resound in their ears forever.
Hate consumed the world in that moment.
In a blink of an eye,
17 people were killed senselessly.
All that potential, joy, impact that they still had yet to bring,
Not only were 17 families destroyed.
Not only were 17 wonderful people robbed of the gift that is life,
But the world lost 17 brilliant and loving souls.
We lost students that did and could've continued to change lives.
We lost teachers that remained heroic and selfless till the very end.
When will it end?
When will we have suffered enough?
How many souls must we lose, hearts must be broken, families torn apart?
When will the day come, when love and hope conquer death?
That day wasn't February 14th.
But maybe one day, someday.
Written by Victoria v.C., March 14th2018, German International School Washington D.C. on the occasion of the National School Walk-Out day honoring the victims of the Florida shooting of February 14th, 2018.
Photos: Dr. Peter Dreher (Retired GISW Teacher)