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Rochelle Students Find Alternative To National School Walkout

Rochelle Township will dedicate entire week to support the victims in Florida

ROCHELLE - In a show of solidarity for the victims of last month's Florida school shooting, students across the country will walk out of class. But, not at one Stateline high school. Instead of one day of solidarity -- Rochelle Township High School students want to do five. Their efforts will not only support the victims in Florida, but their fellow Hubs as well.

"It's not meant to focus on one group or one student," said organizer Teddi Hacaga. "It's to focus on us as a whole as a school."

It's called 'The Week of Us' -- a week long program to empower and unify the student body.

"We just wanted to do the many activities through the week just so that everybody can be involved in it," said Hacaga.

Placing positive post-its on lockers and handing out unity bracelets are among the week's activities. Next Wednesday, the day of the national walkout, students instead will be encouraged to speak to, smile at or approach 17 others they don't usually associate with to honor the 17 lost in Parkland.

"We do have an impact, our voice does matter," said organizer Sarena Abdallah. "It's not only about honoring the 17 innocent lives that were taken, but also a way to just come together as one."

Abdallah hopes the program will improve relationships between students -- reducing the chance of students feeling alone at RTHS.

"Everyone is fighting their own battle," said Abdallah. "We don't really see what's happening behind the scenes. That's our jobs as students, especially to be there to support one another."

 Even though students may be part of different organizations or groups, organizers say they all come together and represent Rochelle Township as a whole.

"We just want to make this as big as possible," said Hacaga." [We want to] show that kindness is everywhere and we can spread kindness, whether its big or small."

"If we just don't let the fear of judgment or the fear of failure stop us from doing that, we will be successful," said Abdallah.

Organizers say least five other area schools have heard about 'The Week of Us' and are now doing something similar in their schools.


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