Peace and Positivity

Students and faculty honor those lost and injured at MSD through the Day of Love and Service


In remembrance of the seventeen lost and those injured at MSD in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018, students, faculty and staff in Broward County dedicated the two-year anniversary to love and service. From this day forward, no classes will be held on a Broward campus on Valentine’s Day.


Instead, this year the district declared a half-day for students, and throughout the county students, faculty and staff participated in acts of peace and kindness. Prior to the day, Jaguar faculty and club members planned 15 unique activities, filling 3 separate blocks of sessions from which students could choose. Students pre-registered for these sessions on the school website and followed their personally designed schedule to partake in sessions that intrigued them most. 


For a more therapeutic and zen atmosphere, students practiced yoga in a class taught by a professional instructor. In this session, attendees learned several postures and different breathing techniques in order to control the breathing patterns to provoke a peaceful feeling mode. Math teacher, Ashley Speerin planned the Yoga sessions. 


“Yoga helps the kids clear their mental space of what’s going on in the outside world. It works with their breathing, and also stretches out areas that you wouldn’t normally work on,” Speerin said.


Other workshops like rock and heart painting, bracelet and Origami crafting, and DIY slime making, invoked a creative tone to the day through art expression. Art teacher, Nathan Eldred-Banks led students and faculty through crafting Origami Cranes, which symbolize hope and healing during difficult times. 


“Origami Cranes in Japan are a symbol of peace and good luck. There is a legend that states that if you make 1000 origami cranes, you will receive good luck, and the crane itself will grant your wish,” Eldred-Banks said. 


Sessions like beautifying the Native Butterfly Memorial Garden gave students the chance to improve the environment and leave a remembrance mark at the school. Science teacher, Sarah Marcus helped lead the activity. 


“[Tidying up and planting] teaches [students] about the community and working together, and gives them a sense of success because they will actually get to see what [the outcome is],” Marcus said. 


Those eager for a more hands-on experience snagged a spot in the popular cooking sessions, allowing them personalize an ice cream cookie dessert. In another hands-on activity, CPR techniques gave students a tutorial about how to properly perform chest compressions to adult and infant manikins, and possibly save a life. 


To release additional stress, physical activities filled the day as students engaged in three-on-three basketball tournaments in the gym and student-led choreographed dance classes in the courtyard.


Other sessions on campus included Inspirational Messages, Keeping Your Cool, and Positivity through Poetry.  


Despite the tragedy two years ago, kindness and positivity bloom and grow. Vice Principal Michele Stein played a major role in coordinating the day. 


The staff and the kids have been amazing, and everyone is doing great things. Great projects, great service, and I’m very proud of our school and students.”

— Michele Stein, Vice Principal


To wrap up the Day of Love and Service, students, faculty and staff gathered in the courtyard for a large group photo to commemorate the day, many making heart symbols with their hands. 


“I think today has been a really good day, and the activities were all focused on service and love,” Principal Dr. Mark Kaplan said. 


All the sessions, all the love, and all the kindness, students ended the school day with positivity, memories and new friends.