Students held a walkout to raise awareness of climate change during fourth hour at 10 a.m. on Sept. 20.
The walkout was organized via a GroupMe created by the student organizers, seniors Ashley Cimerolli and Patrick Lee.
The chat contained over 350 students, all sharing ideas on posters, chants and scheduling.
One concern voiced by students in the GroupMe was the issue of punishment if they participated in the walkout. As of now, students with an unexcused absence due to the protest will receive detention before or after school.
“As with any school absence, any work missed will be the student’s responsibility to contact the teacher in the effort to mitigate their absence. Teachers should take attendance, and if a student chooses to attend a demonstration, it will be marked as an unexcused absence and would fall under the attendance policies and procedures of WGHS,” principal Dr. Irvin said via email.
The students congregated outside of the senior entrance and marched up Lockwood Avenue to City Hall where they had speeches, chants and a “die in.”
Webster’s strike was one of many in conjunction with the movement “Fridays for Future organization,” organized by Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. Thunberg has helped show young people that despite their age, they can still play a major role in protesting and politics.
During the march, Lee was equipped with a megaphone and led the group of teens in chants.
“I’ve seen things on social media, and the news about what’s going on. . . and I really felt like it’s an important and powerful issue that really urgently needs to be addressed, and I couldn’t get it off my mind and when the State of the World climate strike popped up across social media I thought that was a great way to get the ball rolling,” Lee said.
Other speakers were seniors Quinn Coffman and Elise Keller.
Bystanders in their cars or on bikes cheered the students on, many taking out their phones to record the event. One driver honked and held out of their car window a sign reading “women scientists against climate change.”
Students had homemade signs urging people to recognize the severity of climate change.
“We Will Go Back 2 School The Moment You Start Listening To Science + Give Us A Future,” one sign read. “I’m Sure The Dinosaurs Thought They Had Time Too,” another sign, held by junior Lilian Maynor read.
Mayor Gerry Welch and council member Laura Arnold also spoke.
Arnold was pleased with the student organized walkout.
“[The protest was] fantastic. One of the students who spoke on what action really is and talked about how you need to move past social media. This gets people to pay attention to the message that you have, and I think it’s incredibly important that the generation that’s going to be most impacted by this is the one leading the way,” Arnold said.
The walkout lasted from the commencement of fourth period and ended shortly before the hour ended, and students were rounded into the auditorium before the end of the hour as they got back to the school.
This is Jaden Fields’ first year on with Echo publications, but she took journalism the year prior. She’s very excited for what the year will bring.
This is senior Ethan Weihl’s second year on ECHO Staff. He previously served as News Editor. He has not decided on college yet, but he wants to major in Political Science, History and/or Journalism.