One year later

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  • These posters, along with hundreds of blue and white glow sticks, lined the fences along the street from Saugus High School all the way to Central Park on the night of the vigil.

  • This memorable sign is currently hanging up in the Canyon High School office, and similar signs can be found in administrative offices across the district with their respective logos.

  • Students and families from Saugus High School and surrounding schools come together as a community to remember the victims of the tragic incident.

  • Gracie Anne Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell were victims of the Saugus Shooting last year. A memorial was made at Central Park to honor and remember them. Now, almost a full year later vigils are being held for the students that will forever remain in the community’s hearts and minds.

We all know the story. It will forever be in our minds, the place, the date, and the people we were with. November 14, 2019, was for many students and families in SCV one of the scariest days in their lives. The day that no one expected would ever happen to them.

Close to 8:00 a.m. most schools were told to go on a mandatory lockdown because Saugus High School had reported a school shooting. For most, it was life-changing, whether you knew someone who was at the school at the time or even was friends with those who we sadly lost. But one thing that no one will forget is how the community all came together as one to support each other. As we approach the one-year mark of these events Canyon as well as other schools within our district are all taking part in the Unity of Community Wellness Week because we all want to make sure that students are doing well especially during these hard times.

Last school year was very troubling, from all the natural disasters and being evacuated to the shooting at Saugus High School and then a global pandemic. But most people could agree that those who faced a very hard year were in fact the students attending Saugus High School during those times. Some of these students as well as many other students from different schools were living in the potential paths of California wildfires and had to be evacuated from their homes, which was very scary and could happen very fast. Then Saugus had their school shooting, which left many lives shaken up, and caused their school to be shut down for several weeks. And to end the school year the virus we all know as Covid-19 shut down all schools across the country.

While being a student during those times was hard, just imagine what it was like for the seniors. Class of 2020 Saugus High School senior Ben Garcia explained that ¨being a senior, you know, you think wow my last year here, and now everything just got changed in a glimpse of time. It’s crazy.¨ All of these years going to the same school and waiting for graduation then having everything change in a blink of an eye can be hard. Garcia also said how ¨before it all happened school was normal¨ and how ¨You’re there because you want to be or because you have to be” which I guess is most people’s perspective of the school. Then Garcia goes on to tell what his thoughts were the morning it happened saying that ¨hearing the reason for a lockdown was disbelief” and like many did not want it to be true. Garcia was not on campus during the lockdown because he was running late to school that day so he remained at home, turned on the news, and texted everyone he knew to make sure they were safe.

Garcia then goes on to tell more from a Saugus student perspective upon returning back to school. ¨After it happened, you could have been a stranger…Nobody was the same, teachers, students and just everybody was different.¨ He explained that it was very emotional and how everyone no matter how well you knew them would ask for a hug and to talk. ¨It was almost like a wake-up call, that nothing is guaranteed. Life was a luxury and the people who you wouldn’t imagine we’re coming up to you and giving you a hug.¨ The first day back was crazy and full of emotions and all the days leading up to that day where students were to return some debate if they should even go back because what happened to them was truly a life-changing event. Saugus students were welcomed back to their campus with open arms by staff and news crews trying to capture what it was like for the students to return.

As we approach the one year mark many thoughts and emotions may start to rise up. Scrolling through social media and seeing the memories of old posts or getting the notifications of new ones can be overwhelming. For some, it makes them just want to break down and cry and for others, they will do anything they can to keep their minds off of it. But one thing that everyone should remember is that your mental health is very important, so if you feel that you are not doing well you should talk to someone about it. And always remember that we as a community are Saugus Strong.