Hillsborough celebrates 10 years of Positive Park

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As the silence fills the air, one-by-one, 17 students walk forward, whisper a name and release a small monarch butterfly, each in memory of one of the Stoneman Douglas victims.

Despite the time that has passed since the shooting, it still affects each and every one of the students in Florida. To commemorate the loss, Junior Harmony Tarpein teamed up with the school nurse, Janice Vogt, and Principal Brady to release butterflies at the Annual Earth Day Celebration.

“I felt like releasing the butterflies was a way to commemorate and remember the victims without bringing in any aspect of a political view or anything dealing with the protest to change gun laws,” Tarpein said. “I wanted it to be about the victims and who they were rather than just the headline: 17 dead.”

Principal Brady also had a few comments on the issue pointing out that the 17 butterflies released by each of the students were unique to each individual Stoneman Douglas students, but the other butterflies passed out to each guest were in honor of the students and teachers Hillsborough has lost in the years past.

“I think it is important that we continue to honor the 17 lost lives form Stoneman Douglas,” said Junior Jayla Rogers. “We also need to continue talking about the measures needed to make schools safer.”

Although the butterfly release was the highlight of the celebration, there were also special presentations from several of the Environmental Club members, including: Jorge Garcia and Ingrid Yen. The presentations included information about animals and insects native to Florida, such as the manatee, wasps and ladybugs, as well as history on Positive Park.

Garcia went into detail about hot Positive Park has endured many years of setbacks and triumphs. At one point, Garcia explained, the park was a dump site for construction occurring in the school, killing a lot of the plants and insects native to the park. But, after years of convincing, Vogt gathered a few students who were dedicated to improving the park and bringing the beauty back to Hillsborough.

Vogt also gave a special thanks to many of the Alumni who support Positive Park by donating money to maintain the garden, as well as to the students who dedicate their time after school to cleaning and tending to the plants.

At the end of the celebration, Vogt received a plaque to commemorate 10 years of beauty and positivity.

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