Memoirs of an Eagle

The experiences and stories from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

After gunshots tore through the air at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, the lives of the students, teachers, families and Americans were forever changed. 17 families are now one member short. Students gripped by fear must face the idea of heading back to school with 17 less classmates and teachers.

The students of Stoneman Douglas are not letting their friends and teachers die in infamy, instead continuing to speak out and share their stories for all to hear

Sophomore Zoey Foxsnider hid in a storage closet for over two hours in fear and confusion as she prayed for her life.

“As we started walking up stairs, I heard gunshots and I started freaking out. I had no idea what was going on. We got out of the stairwell and into a corridor. I got pulled into the media center storage room. We all huddled in the back and sat there in the dark,” Foxsnider said. “We were so scared everyone was shaking, huddling together and texting our families and friends. Nobody really knew what was going on.”

Students and staff members were unaware of the details of the situation. Parents tried to get as much information as they could to comfort their children as well as themselves.

“Then finally, after about two and a half hours later the SWAT team came into our room and screamed to put our hands up, grab our stuff and get out in a single file line,” Foxsnider said. “We came out into the main part of the media center with about 100 or 200 other kids and everyone was just in shock. We still really did not know what was going on. We knew it was real at this point but not much else. After about 15 minutes of waiting there we were told to run, with our hands up as fast a we could out of the building. As we got out to the main road we were told to drop our bags so they could have dogs sniff and search for something.[Then] they told us to walk down a road which was going away from the school and just keep going until we got far enough where our parents could pick us up. I was able to walk to my temple with a couple other friends and my dad picked us up and drove us all home. We just couldn’t believe what happened.”

While many students waited for hours to be released from the school building, some students made it out quickly when the gunshots were first fired. Instead of fearing for his life, junior Agustine Felman feared for the lives of his friends and sister from a nearby Walmart.

“When it happened I was in the 400 building which is on the opposite side of school from where [the shots were fired]. When we heard that it was a fire drill we started running to the back and then someone screamed that there was a shooting, therefore me and all my friends started running and jumped over the fence until we got to the nearest Walmart where there were police officers stationed,” Felman said. “I was terrified. I was scared. I felt awful and I wanted to go back and save them. The worst part was that my little sister was still in there, that honestly gave me the biggest shock and fear I’ve ever had. My heart dropped.”

Sophomore Julia Merfogel watched as the news unfolded on the tv shortly after she safely escaped. With nothing in her power to do, Merfogel sat idly by feeling scared and helpless.

“I was picked up at a Walmart with about a thousand other kids and parents trying to get safe. Most of what happened I experienced from my house, watching the tv trying to figure out what was going on. I was so scared because a lot of my friends were still there, stuck in a building and nobody knew where the shooter was or anything,” Merfogel said. “Even now im still in shock. The fact that a lot of my friends were in the building waiting two or three hours for SWAT, they didn’t know what was going on in the building. I was just really worried for their safety. I’m very lucky that none of my close friends were directly affected and that they are all safe, but many of them are suffering from PTSD and I don’t know if they are going to be able to go back to this school.”

The students and community of Douglas refuse to sit back and watch as nothing is done to prevent another school shooting. Instead, they are rising up and fighting for what they believe in.

“I went to Tallahassee and lobbied for gun control and change. We were met by a lot of closed doors and people who didn’t want to talk to us. But we made our presence known and I did get to talk to people who said it was a complicated issue and it was not the time. Even when presented with facts and stories they were not interested at all,” Foxsnider said. “Some people we talked to, mainly Republicans, said that after this event they saw that something really needs to change. And I’m really hopeful for the future to see what happens.”

Students such as Merfogel refuse let this tragedy be forgotten.

“Our main goal is to make sure that not only is something done, but we’re not just going back to school and let everything disappear. The news is still going to talk about us, they’re not going to be able to get rid of us. As long as it takes, we will continue to make publicity for this issue,” Merfogel said.

As students prepare to return to school on Wednesday, February 28, they know it will never be the same.

“I’m kinda scared,” Felman said. “I don’t know if I can ever feel safe [at school] again.”