PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – For those not in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on that fatal day in February when a gunman killed 17 people, perhaps no one else felt it more than the students at Westglades Middle, the school right next door.
“The students had come from Westglades and we are, were very close to a lot of those students here,” said art teacher Debra Golding.
It’s emotional for Golding, she was the brains behind the project she hopes will live forever, a mural to be painted on a wall at Westglades.
“It’s not just a mural, it needs to be remembered, they need to be remembered,” she said.
With the help of the students, the creation will be the ocean.
Marley Prager, an 8th grader, created a clown fish design that she will paint on the wall in memory of her friend Gina Montalto who used to be in her art class just a year ago and inspired her to join the class. Montalto was among the 17 victims.
“She means a lot to me and I want to make sure that she’s remembered,” said Prager.
Golding chose her favorite artist, renowned marine artist Wyland to help make her vision a reality, he donated his time and skill for the project.
Wyland said for him it’s about healing too.
“Art can really change people and it’s a great way to memorialize these beautiful kids that were taken before their time,” he said.
Wyland will paint 17 sea turtles in honor of the 17 who died.
By Rielle Creighton