5 Years Later: Community honors lives lost in Parkland school shooting

PARKLAND, Fla. – It’s been five years since 17 people were killed in the Parkland school shooting, and many are honoring the victims Tuesday with moments of silence and other events.

Students and staff members of Silver Shores Elementary School in Miramar were joined by city leaders and first responders around 9 a.m. to create a giant human heart on the school’s PE field.

The faculty remained inside the heart to create the number 17.

Interim Superintendent Valerie Wanza attended a moment of reflection at 10:17 a.m. at Silver Lakes Middle School in North Lauderdale.

Students there are painting a love and peace-themed mural and creating a heart display in memory of the Parkland victims.

Local 10 News reporter Saira Anwer was inside a seventh-grade classroom at the school as students decorated hearts with the names of the victims to be part of a school-wide art project.

“We’re remembering the 17 people who died five years ago,” student Nahleea Mompremier said.

“I’m making these heart flowers and on the white part, the names of those who had died,” another student Kaleah Poliard explained to Anwer.

Hollywood Hills Principal Daniel Most also took the time to say all of the names of the 17 victims during the school’s morning announcements on Tuesday.

Vivid pictures of the victims were also shown at Pine Tails Park in Parkland to offer a moment of reflection.

Alyssa Alhadeff, one of 17 victims honored during memorial of Parkland School shooting. (WPLG)

Broward’s acting superintendent looked back on that dark day five years ago as she addressed the North Lauderdale campus.

“It has been five years and it’s been a five-year journey,” Wanza said. “I think the one thing that I want people to remember is that we will never forget, that as a community, we will always remember and we will have a lasting purpose and commitment to keep our staff and community safe.”

Amid a schoolwide ceremony, 17 students held candles -- one light for every life lost.

Hollywood Hills High School also held a moment of reflection at 10:17 a.m. Emotional support dogs will be at the school Tuesday and students will be making bracelets with positive messages, motivational posters and a heart banner with positive messages.

The Eagles’ Haven Wellness Center, which opened in March 2019 to “rediscover wellness and restore hope to the Parkland/Coral Springs community” following the Parkland shooting released doves in a special remembrance ceremony for the victims.

Parkland families say the support is overwhelming, but that trauma never leaves, especially on a day like Tuesday.

“It’s a club that nobody ever wants to be a part of,” said Max Schacter, who lost his son Alex in the Parkland shooting.

“It’s important that we remember who they are and remember who they were,” said Tony Montalto, father of Gina, who was also killed in the shooting.

U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., and members of the South Florida Legislative Delegation attended the event, along with family members of the victims.

At 2 p.m., Broward Health North will host an anniversary remembrance ceremony. Healthcare providers who cared for the MSD victims are expected to attend the event, along with members of the Pompano Beach Fire Department, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue and other local dignitaries.

The event will be held outside the Emergency Department.

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.