Corning, N.Y. (WENY)-- It's been almost three weeks since a gunman took the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Amidst the politics that have followed, students at the Corning-Painted Post High School are making sure the victims are not forgotten.
"We're not trying to make this political, we're really just trying to make this more about memorializing the victims and trying to shed the light on the victims they really need," says Sriram Hathwar, one of the organizers of Monday's event.
17 empty chairs were displayed on stage in tribute of the 17 victims. Participating students read biographies of the victims before laying a rose on the empty seat. Student organizers say the focus is to keep the politics out of the memorials.
"We're really just trying to make sure the Parkland Victims get the necessary attention they deserve, and the politics can stay in Washington, we're just trying to keep everything sane here in Corning," Hathwar explains.
After the roses were laid out, the students went silent for two minutes to remember the shooting victims. There was also a banner with the victim's names on display. Corning-Painted Post Superintendent Michael Ginalski says he's proud the students came up with and planned the idea themselves.
"All the kids are being pulled in different directions through outside groups, frankly trying to use them. I give credit to these kids for showing maturity and frankly hard decision make to try to do something this way," Ginalski explains.
The group behind the organization of the memorial is 607 Students for Change. The group's goal is to try to impact change in society, to get the word out about what they, the students, feel passionate about. 607 Students for Change is currently organized at the Corning-Painted Post High School, but they're trying to expand to multiple school districts throughout the Southern Tier. The group can be contacted on Twitter at @607SFC