Student voices resonate during Walkout

Office of the Governor

The+voter+registration+booth+set+up+in+the+cafeteria+during+the+March+14+student+walkout.+Staff+photo+2018.

The voter registration booth set up in the cafeteria during the March 14 student walkout. Staff photo 2018.

Rianne Pada, News Writer

On National Student Walkout day, Kalani students filed into the school cafeteria at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes to honor the victims of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The room was filled, with many people standing in aisles and doorways, or sitting on the floor. 

The walkout was led by junior Chelsea Agustin, along with Sierra Uchima-Pyun, Sabrina Foley, Jessica Lau, Chase Yezzi, Jayci Takara, Edilberto Salinas, Macey Honjiyo and Michelle Kim.

Chelsea Agustin kicked off the protest with a speech demanding gun reform. Staff photo 2018.

“My goal is to demand gun reform because Congress hasn’t done anything since Columbine,” Agustin said. “I feel like they don’t really care, especially after Sandy Hook and elementary students. We just want to bring change to the world.”

To prepare for the walkout, students made an Instagram account (@enoughkhs), posted flyers around the school, submitted reminders to the schoolwide televised bulletin, and printed handouts. At 9:55 a.m., a school bell rang, and students made their way to the cafeteria. A table was set up near the door allowing students age 16 and up to register to vote.

The program began with a speech by Agustin, followed by speeches by Yezzi and Uchima-Pyun. “Fourteen of the victims were just ordinary high school students like you and I,” Uchima-Pyun told the audience.

Sierra Uchima-Pyun was the third student speaker to demand gun reform. Standing beside her holding a sign is Chase Yezzi, who also spoke. Staff photo 2018.

Following the speeches, sophomore Sabrina Folley performed a cover of Imagine by John Lennon, with Edilberto Salinas dancing alongside her. Sophomore 2020 Kapono Wong then performed tribute on the ukelele to the victims.

“I think it’s really empowering for all of us to come together, especially because a lot of us are wearing orange,” senior Taylor Nobriga said. Students were instructed to wear orange due to it being the color that symbolizes anti-gun violence. Orange ribbons and bracelets were passed out to students as they entered the cafeteria.

As 10:17 a.m. approached, Agustin led Kalani students through a 17-second moment of silence, one second for every victim of the Parkland shooting.

The walkout was optional: not all students agreed with it.

Like senior Dylan Lo. “I would go to this assembly, but when you really think about it, is it really a protest if the school agrees?” he said. 

The voter registration booth set up in the cafeteria during the March 14 student walkout. Staff photo 2018.

Many other students expressed a desire for a more “natural” type of challenge to gun control.

Agustin and the other student organizers gave Kalani a voice, along with thousands of other students across the nation.

“I will encourage other students at Kalani to speak because we all have voices and we all have our own feelings and opinions on this issue,” Agustin said. “It would be stronger if people speak up and we will be taken more seriously as students.”