SMCC students hold vigil in S. Portland for school shooting victims

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SOUTH PORTLAND — More than 50 students gathered on the Southern Maine Community College campus March 1 to pay tribute to the victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting that killed 17.

At the vigil, which was organized by the student senate, the names of those killed were read aloud and the tolling of a bell following each name. The candlelight service ended with a moment of silence.

Joshua Parks, public relations director for the student senate, said people will look to politicians and ask what they are going to do to prevent similar attacks. He said the pessimistic truth is, they can’t prevent such acts, and the optimistic truth is that everybody has the tools within themselves to prevent them.

“We need to be better to each other. We need to heal and come together as we are right now,” Parks said.

Students spoke of honoring the lost and resolving to practice patience and fighting extremes to find common places and common ground.

Student Nova Whitt said in such time of need, to stand in solidarity and remembrance, “means the world.”

“That students, faculty and administrators would gather on a cold weekday night to stand in memory of a school community 3,000 miles away shows how heartfelt the moment was. Our theme was ‘Hearts from South Portland to Parkland,” Whitt said.

Juliette Laaka can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or at

Southern Maine Community College student Nova Whitt lights candles March 1 during a vigil honoring the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

About 50 students gathered March 1 during a candlelight vigil to remember those killed in a February school shooting in Florida.