It has been a few months since the tragedy at Newtown, Conn., where school shooting gripped the nation, but the victims of school violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School are still on the minds and hearts of many, including the Bible Club at Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School.
This past Wednesday night, RSMS’ Bible Club organized a community rally to remember the young lives lost and to raise local awareness about school violence, all while praising God and encouraging each other to never waver in their faith.
The Bible Club began the rally with a song, singing their theme song “This Little Light of Mine,” a fitting choice as they later moved into a time of remembrance in which they lit candles and read aloud past accounts of school violence from across the nation, including the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Columbine High School.
“With all the negative things going on the world, like school violence, people need to know that there is still a God that cares, and these children helped show the community that tonight,” shared RSMS’ Bible Club leader Andrea Bell. “School violence is such a major concern. It’s definitely in the forefront of everyone’s minds right now. In fact, we had a workshop here [at RSMS] not long ago to help prepare us for school violence if it ever happens here. We talked about being proactive against school violence instead of just reactive. I’m glad we had it because I think preparation is the best thing we can to do.”
During the rally, many of the Bible Club’s 82 members shared their gifts and talents with the community. Alyssa Harden led the rally, Osheona White performed a praise dance to the song “Shifting the Atmosphere,” Cameron Boykin read aloud Psalm 27, Anna Beth Averett played a selection of music on the piano, Lorin Hawks sang “I Just Want to Thank You Lord,” and Johnnah Hobbs sang “Amazing Grace.”
Bible Club member Tyler Hobbs delivered the rally’s message, sharing with the community that while the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a surprise to the nation, it was not a surprise to God. He reminded the audience that the all-knowing God is always there, ready to love and support, especially during difficult times. Despite the tragedies that can occur in life, Hobbs encouraged the community to never lose their trust in God.
RSMS Principal Sheila Peterson said she is thrilled to have students who are so aware of what is going on in the world and want to do their part to make a difference. “I think it is wonderful that they all came together for a common cause, to bring awareness to the community. The children came up with this idea all on their own and implemented it. Their mentors helped them organize it, but the kids are the ones who brought the community together tonight.”
“These children are going places and doing things, and it’s been such a privilege to be here tonight,” continued Peterson. “It’s just so powerful when kids share how they feel.”
The rally concluded with everyone — the Bible Club, RSMS faculty, parents, the audience — joining hands to form a huge prayer circle. Prayers for peace were said as were prayers asking God to comfort those who had lost loved ones, often children, to school violence. Special prayers were also offered up for the children at RSMS, that God watch over them and that He continue to bless the Bible Club’s efforts.
“These kids are on fire for the Lord, and this club is all about letting your light shine and doing for others,” attested Bell. “We also want to encourage people. There’s a lot going on in the world that we have to fight. With God all things are possible and we will fight and win through Him, but it’s also important that we stick together as a community.”
In attendance at the rally was Roseboro mayor David Alexander who shared that he would like to see more community events like this. “It was very nice, and it is something that I like to see. I like seeing the younger generations involved in the community; in fact, I’d like to see even more of it. Hopefully this will be something that they’ll do every year.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.