On March 14, students at Paul D. Schreiber High School joined schools around the country in a walkout to call for gun safety legislation.
Students were given a chance to speak and a moment of silence was held.
Later that night, several of those same students put on a show at the Landmark on Main. Although different in tone, the two events had the same goal: to encourage action after the school shooting in Parkland.
“This is more of a— and I kind of hate to say it but a joyous thing,” said Charlotte Kerpen, a freshman who organized the event Port for Parkland. “We’re celebrating that we will change something, as in the walkout it was kind of a memorial.”
Kerpen said last month that she was inspired to plan the event because this shooting affected her more than other shootings in the past.
“It was midnight and I couldn’t sleep, I knew I had to do something,” she said. “So I combined two things I love: singing and helping people.”
In less than a month, Kerpen and others pulled together a show featuring multiple acts. The show, which was selling tickets for $17 (as there were 17 students lost in the shooting), sold out.
Further donations from Port Washington businesses helped raise $27,000, way over Kerpen’s target of $17,000.
“It’s an amazing sense of community,” she said. “Never in a million years would I imagine that we’d sell out 425 seats.”
Kerpen said that the funds would go to the families affected by the shooting in Florida through the Broward Education Foundation and to the Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing gun-related deaths.
Among the local businesses and organizations who donated to the event were Minuteman Press, the Dance Arts Centre and Pilates in Port.
“It’s something very personal — I have two children and I would never want something like that to happen,” said Tricia Dean O’Donnell, who owns Pilates in Port. “Every child should be able to go to school without fear.”
Landmark on Main was able to host the event at no cost, thanks to contributions from the staff and board members.
“Generations of Port Washington students were nurtured and educated within these walls,” a statement from Landmark said. “That the students of Port for Parkland have chosen to come together in performance to express their heartfelt emotion and to turn that emotion into action is inspiring. That they are doing this at Landmark is especially appropriate.
In keeping with the theme of the night, the show consisted of 17 different performances, divided into two acts.
The performances ranged from dancing to singing and feature students from elementary through high school.
In addition to performing in the show, students helped to run the show onstage and also guided attendees to their seats.
Kerpen said that she wanted the show to be run by students as much as possible.
In addition to pulling the show together, she hosted the event and sang “Rise Up” with Kate Magocsi and Becca Packer. She said the latter was the toughest part of the whole ordeal.
“Giving my opening speech was definitely really scary because I had to walk out here and see all these people, but singing was probably harder,” Kerpen said.