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Candlelight vigil brings Carlmont community together

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Rain sprinkled down in the quad on the evening of Nov. 8 as students and staff members mourned the loss of the victims of recent attacks across the nation.

Since the beginning of October, there have been three major terrorist attacks in the U.S., according to The New York Times.

On Oct. 1, a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds.

On Oct. 31, a truck drove onto a New York City bike path, killing eight and injuring 11.

On Nov. 5, a shooter killed 26 people and injured 20 during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

To bring the Carlmont community together and to pay respects to those lost, the robotics class organized a candlelight vigil.

Robotics teacher David Talcott said, “One of the subteams in our robotics class is in charge of outreach events. Our events are usually directly related to robots, through activities such as working with middle schoolers and showing them robots. However, another approach to outreach is working to increase our impact in the community. This [vigil] falls into this category; students in our outreach subteam thought that it would be important to have an event like this, which shows that they have the ability to think beyond their own horizons.”

Despite the rainfall, approximately 30 students and staff members sat in the quad to mourn the loss of the victims of recent attacks.

Before hosting the event, robotics students went through multiple processes to organize and plan.

Robotics student Sandra Strongin, a senior, said, “A lot of preparation went into this. We couldn’t just buy candles and invite people; it had to get approved not only by the school administration, but our robotics team also has a process of approval for doing any kind of outreach events. After all of the planning was done, we prepared all of the details. This included buying candles, making memorial posters, getting tables, making flyers, and more.”

In addition to planning and buying supplies for the vigil, the robotics class was tasked with spreading awareness for the event.

“I first spread the word to our robotics team, which is comprised of almost 100 student members. I then reached out to ASB, which helped make beautiful flyers that they all posted on their social media platforms,” said Strongin.

The vigil began promptly at 5:45 p.m. and ended around 7 p.m. Students and faculty members lit candles, gathered in a circle and shared personal thoughts regarding the recent attacks across the nation.

ASB student Maddy Palarca-Wong, a junior, said, “I felt like it was important to go to the vigil because a lot of people have lost their lives in the past couple months, and there are entire families and communities who are suffering more than we can ever imagine. It is in times like these that it is important that we come together to support people who are hurting. I think that the vigil is just another testament to how amazing the Carlmont community is. It’s a big deal to ask students to spend a school night sitting in the dark and in the rain for a couple of hours. The fact that people showed up and took time out of their busy lives to stop and think about others is really heartwarming.”

After the formal ceremony, which included reading the names of the victims and lighting candles for each of them, students sat around the candles to sing songs and continue the discussion about standing united.

Strongin said, “Because robotics has grown to be such a large group of students and parents, we felt that we could do something truly special to honor the ones we have lost. We are a fairly large part of the community, and we feel that it is our responsibility and duty to give back to it. I think that we are all terrified, upset, and angry that three people have been able to kill almost 100 innocent human beings in these recent months. But I also know that these three people wanted us to be scared. They wanted chaos and they wanted us to fall apart. So we must not let them. We must be brave as we try to navigate our lives after these terrible attacks. We must constantly remember how lucky we are and that we must love each other fully and deeply.”

Connor Lin

As people from all around the nation come together in an attempt to heal the scars that have been inflicted by these attacks, some believe that there are drastic changes that need to be made.

Talcott said, “Discord is contagious, and it extends far beyond Donald Trump, Antifa, and Black Lives Matter. Everything has been negative, but it hasn’t always been this way. There needs to be a renewed effort to find common similarities and logical links to unite people, as opposed to wedge issues that divide people.”

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Candlelight vigil brings Carlmont community together