South Jersey School Participates in National Walkout for Change

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VINELAND, N.J. -

It’s been one month since a deadly shooting claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

On Wednesday, March 14th, thousands of students in schools across the country came together to participate in a National School Walkout as a way to remember the victims and protest for change.

“Even though we’re 15, 14, 16, that doesn’t mean we don’t have a voice,” said Nickolas Casalinuovo, sophomore at Cumberland County Technology Education Center (CCTEC) who helped organize the school walk out.

Seventeen minutes — that's one minute for every life lost because of last month’s school shooting.

When your leaders are acting like children and your children are acting like leaders, that means one thing - change is coming.

Although Parkland, Fla., is hundreds of miles away from Vineland, New Jersey, students at CCTEC wanted to show that they’re standing in solidarity.

“We really just wanted to do something to spread a change,” said Teresa Klugewicz, another sophomore at CCTEC who helped put together the walk out.

About 40 students from the school joined thousands of others across the country for today’s National Walkout Day. This day is dedicated to the lives lost because of gun violence and is also a call to our nation’s leaders, asking them for change.

“After the shooting in Parkland, we came together and decided that we needed to do something,” said Casalinuovo. “Like, change was necessary.”

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The six CCTEC students who organized the walk out spoke in front of their fellow peers.

“When your leaders are acting like children and your children are acting like leaders, that means one thing,” said Casalinuovo during the walk out. “Change is coming.”

“To see them speak so eloquently and with such conviction and compassion — not only for their fellow students that saw their views, but for the students who did not — I couldn’t be more proud of [their] actions today,” said Dr. Dina Rossi Elliott, superintendent of CCTEC.

The organizers said they were thankful to have support from other students and the school’s staff.

Their goal was to bring everyone together, no matter where each individual stands on the national debate.

“This was something that we could support in this climate, but also keeping in mind that there are students with differing views than the students that spoke today,” said Rossi Elliott.

Keeping the environment neutral helped the high schoolers get their point across as they did their part in taking a stand on this national day of protest.

“A lot of people have said walking out with a group of 40 people won’t do anything,” said Klugewicz. “And the thing is, it does something. It’s a small ripple. It’s small steps to something big."

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