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Parkland students voicing 'Stories Untold'


PARKLAND, FL (AP) - The Parkland community has become best known through a handful of charismatic students who channeled their grief and outrage into a public activist movement that reignited a national debate on guns.

But many more among the 3,000-plus high school students have been coming to terms with the trauma in quieter, lower-profile ways such writing poetry, reconstructing the crime scene, filming documentaries and balancing their memories with the need to move on.

Carlos Rodriguez and a group of students gathered at a kitchen table in a Parkland subdivision, and map out their next video shoot.

"There are so many voices in Douglas," said Rodriguez. The group works on a video project they call "Stories Untold" which documents what minority students have experienced in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting.

"We want to get their stories out because every story is unique and every experience is different. So I feel, they would add more fire to this movement."

Ivanna Paitan points to a diagram she drew of her classroom when it came under fire, drawing the lines of bullets coming in from the door. Paitan says people around her were shot as most took cover underneath desks. Paitan, like Rodriguez feels many stories are not getting heard, "What's not getting out there is our experiences," Paitan says. "You hear what happened, but not what we were thinking at that moment. No child should think, or ever accept their death."

Freshman Samantha Deitsch used poetry to document her shock at the loss of her 14-year-old friend, Jamie Guttenberg.

Kyrah Simon and Samantha Grady miss their friend Helena Ramsay, who was shot and killed. "These victims were human beings with stories, lives, backgrounds, like there's so much about them that I feel is getting left out of the media," says Simon.

Tyra Hemans was close to victims Meadow Pollack and Joaquin Oliver. As Hemans gets ready to go to college, she carries her friends with her, "Right now when I go to college it's going to be for 'Guac' and Meadow," said Hemans.

"When I walk my stage, I am walking for them. When I get my first job, that's "Guac's" first job, that's Meadow's first job and that's all I'm happy for."

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