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Student Effort Leads Lancaster Day of Unity

Students walk in front of Lancaster High School as part of a "Day of Unity"

The efforts of students were at the forefront as the Lancaster Central School District held a Day of Unity on May 15 across its campuses. The day gave students and staff the opportunity to remember the victims of the mass shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo on May 14, 2022, and to denounce hate and racism.

“I want people to value that these were real people, and I want people to come together to see this as a learning opportunity and a chance to come closer,” said Kaylie Jackson, a Lancaster High School sophomore who helped organize the day’s events through the student Climate, Culture and Inclusivity Committee. 

At LHS, the committee organized a remembrance event, which included tributes to victims, along with a walk of the school grounds. Students made posters with messages including “Hate Has No Home Here,” “Everyone Deserves Happiness” and “Choose Love.” 

“This is a way to show that there is unity here and that we can learn and be better,” said Meriam Alaouie, a fellow organizer of the event. 

Bonnie Blatner, the district’s Culture, Climate and Inclusivity Coordinator, said she was encouraged to see the student’s initiative. 

“This gives me hope for the future,” she said. “I’m proud of them that they stepped up.”

Across the district, schools held a moment of silence to honor victims of the shooting, and students were encouraged to wear black for the day. The unity in the district was seen in other activities in the last week. A “Buddy Bench” was introduced on the playground at Como Park Elementary, with the hopes of increasing inclusivity among students. 

Students speak at a lectern as they remember Deacon Heyward Patterson, who died in the shooting on May 14, 2022 in Buffalo.  

Students create a poster as part of a "Day of Unity"  

Students unveil a "Buddy Bench" at Como Park Elementary

Students pose for a photo during a "Day of Unity."

Students pose for a photo as part of a "Day of Unity."

Students create chalk art as part of a "Day of Unity."