MSD staff, faculty return to classrooms and begin recovery after tragedy

September 1, 2018

MSD held an optional reunification event for faculty, students and parents on Feb. 25, intended for community members to provide comfort and be comforted as the school reopened.

It was basically a three hour-long open house, but a lot more emotional, where everyone needs a hug,” Melissa Falkowski, 35, who teaches English 3 and Creative Writing at MSD and advises their print newspaper, said. “It went well, but you could tell the kids, the parents—they’re still sort of hesitant.’”

Faculty then returned to campus on Feb. 26 to 27 to discuss how best to help their students and community and how the school plans to work in the coming weeks.

“We’re sort of in this really unknown situation, like where do we go now?” Falkowski said. “I was supposed to give a quiz on Feb. 15–what are we doing about that? One of the students sent me a text message yesterday asking me when our children’s book was due for our creative writing class. I’m like, ‘Never?’ I don’t know. Everyone’s calling it a new normal, and we’re still figuring out what’s next.”

Half-day classes resumed on Feb. 28, and students were greeted by banners, teddy bears, flowers, candles and cards sent in solidarity from around the nation.

On the weekend of Feb. 24, the MSD varsity ice hockey team took home a title at the Florida Hockey State Championship. The players dedicated their win to the victims of the shooting.

“Before the game, we all knew what we were there for,” the team’s assistant captain Tyler Avron, a senior at MSD, said. “We had the opportunity to not go in case some of us were feeling not well with the situation, but we chose to go and represent our school. That was motivationthat we were fighting for more than ourselves.”

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