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Classroom of Compassion

A Parkland Tribute

Grover Cleveland High School

Reseda, CA 

On February 14, 2018, Valentines Day, 17 students and staff were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  

A year later, 65 students from Grover Cleveland Charter High School and their principals came together to create and share an immersive art installation in celebration of the stories and lives lost that day: in celebration of Love.  

Over a month-long workshop, students and staff designed individual school desks inspired by the life and love of each person lost in the tragedy. While creating their tributes, each designer discussed the personal effects of gun violence on their every day existence in a safe and welcoming space and participated in compassionate meditations and exercises. At the end of the workshop, the students and staff wrote about their chosen person, providing a beautiful biography to accompany the art. Each desk was a practice in honoring life: each desk was a lesson in Love.   


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Classroom of Compassion

A Parkland Tribute

On February 14, 2019, the finished desks, and one golf cart, were displayed in the school cafeteria for a two week immersive exhibit and open to the school and community. By project’s end, the entire student body had come out to help honor the 17 fallen--to shower the space with their love. Following this exhibition, the pieces were hosted at the San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center as part of the “Reseda Rocks” festival.

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As both alumnus of Grover Cleveland High School, this was a very personal and special project. We walked those same halls and learned from those same teachers; we created and distributed Valentine’s day grams. Because we attended at different times, we never got to spend a Valentine's Day together, but this project was our way to honor both our love story and the love stories of the 17 lost. To tell the community of Parkland: I hope u know how loved u are. Our mission to make others always feel welcome, heard, and honored. To spread compassion and seed action. To continue sharing stories. Stories that connect us and unite us--that push us to change and inspire. To imagine a better future, by creating a better today. 


We had the most incredible time working with our high school, our teachers, and the students of Grover Cleveland to bring this beautiful space to life. I hope u know how Brave u are. I hope u know how Brilliant u shine. 

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