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Parkland stories | AMP (TWP)

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Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High spent Feb. 14 absorbed by young love, exchanging flowers, chocolates and heartfelt messages. Then their Valentine’s Day turned deadly. Cards were never delivered, candies were never opened, phones were shattered amid chaos.

Two months later, survivors of the shooting are still clinging to what they carried that day, physical reminders of the moment everything changed. Some still carry those objects every day. Others have left them untouched. We asked seven Parkland students to explain why — and describe what the mementos mean now.

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THE STUDENT

Nikhita Nookala, 17

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THE REMINDER

A fundraiser carnation

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“The carnation just symbolizes what that day was supposed to be. It was the last moment of happiness we had on that day, the last moment that everything was normal.”

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THE STUDENT

Nicole Barreto, 17

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THE REMINDER

Unopened chocolates

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“The box of chocolates was left behind both physically and emotionally. As I left school on February 14th, I no longer thought about chocolates and roses but, rather, the fear I had for my life. Weeks after, you can still find the box in its original plastic sealing, sitting in the corner of my room.”

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THE STUDENT

Jeremy Wechsler, 14

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THE REMINDER

In memoriam shoes

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“To this day I continue to wear the shoes I had on during the shooting. I wrote Alex’s name on both shoes, because we were very close friends, and I can keep his memory alive with every step I take.”

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THE STUDENT

Christy Ma, 18

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THE REMINDER

A friendly valentine

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“The letter from my friend Julia was a surprise I received on Valentine’s Day during the last period of the day. It reminds me that the day was supposed to be one of friendships and love, but unfortunately we’ll all remember it as the worst day in history.”

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THE STUDENT

Rachel Pilicer, 18

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THE REMINDER

A boyfriend's gift

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“This turtle was what Valentine’s Day was supposed to symbolize: love and comfort. But what we got was the opposite.”

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THE STUDENT

Julia Salomone, 18

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THE REMINDER

A sisterly note

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“My sister is my best friend, and we both sent each other flowers and notes for Valentine's Day. I could’ve lost her that day. The note is symbolic of her importance to me and a reminder to constantly hold her close.”

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THE STUDENT

Isaah Jean, 14

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THE REMINDER

Phone shattered during the shooting

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"The cracks in my phone represent the cracks in my life and things that happened to me. The missing pieces are like the missing people in my life. It's like the phone could be cracked like how I am, how I feel inside and the things that have happened to me."

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