SARASOTA (WWSB) - Thursday marks one year since 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Here on the Suncoast, local students took part in a county wide moment of silence this morning.
Hundreds of thousands of students across the state also remembered those lives lost with a moment of silence at 10:17 a.m.
For at least one of the juniors at Booker High School, the remembrance meant a little bit more to him. Aiden Pearson is friends with numerous of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, including one who was shot and killed.
“I texted about 20 of them," Pearson said. "I got 19 text messages back that day.”
He thought, maybe Alyssa Alhadeff’s phone was dead, or maybe she was home sick from school.
But at 4 a.m. the next morning, Aiden Pearson got the phone call no one ever wants to get.
“From one of my buddy’s.. telling me she was no longer with us,” he said.
Thursday, he remembered the friend he met at Jewish summer camp and the 16 others who were killed exactly one year ago.
“We now engage in our moment of silence to honor the victims and the survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this morning,” said staff to the crowd.
Booker High’s purple and gold was replaced with a sea of burgundy to honor Stoneman Douglas colors, a show of solidarity and support for them and for each other.
“We’ve came together to make sure each other is safe and see something, say something and report if we see something is wrong,” said one student, Jabrielle Nelson.
A lot has changed in one year, especially when it comes to campus security.
“We do more on safety for those types of issues," Nelson said. "I feel like we’ve learned from Parkland, that helps us be better safety wise here and I feel safe here.”
But there’s still a concern that much of the societal divide has remained the same.
“Due to all of how society is with all of this anger, aggression, lies and hate, I feel like, we can’t predict something that’s going to happen like this," said another student, Myles Summerlin. "It’s always going to be in the back of my mind is, we don’t know if something is going to happen like this. I hope never again, but we never know.”
Choosing now to lean on each other as they push on, keeping the memories of those lost close by.
“We as society will get through it," Pearson read in a letter he wrote for his friend. "I miss her and I want her back, but I know all of them are looking down on us, praying for us to have a good life. RIP Alyssa, 2003-2018.”
This remembrance didn’t just happen here. At 10:17 a.m. every school in the Manatee County and Sarasota County School District held that moment of silence to remember those lives lost.