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CVPA student organizes march for justice, celebration of life after school shooting

The “Family Undivided” March for Celebration and Life is at 1:45 p.m. this Sunday at CVPA/CSMB's track field.

ST. LOUIS — Celebrations of life, and honoring those lost, will continue for Central Visual and Performing Arts High School (CVPA) and Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience (CSMB) after a deadly school shooting.

Students from CVPA organized the “Family Undivided” March for Celebration and Life this Sunday with a march for justice to bring awareness to protection at school, dance and singing performances, on-site counselors and therapists and a lantern release at the track field.

5 On Your Side talked with the organizer of this event, a senior at CVPA.

“It was pretty much a vision God gave me to bring our school, student body, community back together,” Rayquan Strickland said.

Strickland’s vision came from tragedy. Now, it’s something students are all using to rise up together.

“You will see us, you will hear us, we’re going to march in unity,” he said. “We have the march for justice, and that is to bring awareness that our schools need protection.”

Strickland said he wants a key takeaway here to be accepting when you need help.

“A lot of times in our community we don’t seek help because we’re always taught to deal with our pain. But we’re in a time where we need help to help us process our pain,” he said.

After the shooting, Strickland said he’s recognizing his own need for help and support right now.

“I’m in my healing process, I definitely am. I remember that night I couldn’t sleep.”

But said he’s holding onto small moments to celebrate, like the life he and others still have.

“I’m very grateful for a lot of things. Our school did a hall sweep that morning, which meant if you were in the hallways, you knew to get inside your classroom before the bell rung,” he said.

Strickland told 5 On Your Side this entire ceremony will take place on the school's track and will highlight the dance team. He said all of that was intentional, in order to celebrate the lives of P.E. teacher Jean Kuczka, and student dancer Alexandria Bell.

“If we wanna make this honorable, we have to be intentional,” he said.

The march will start at 1:45 p.m. at the CVPA and CSMB Track Field, with an approximate schedule of:

  • 1:45-2:50 p.m. - March for Justice
  • 3:00-4:00 p.m. - Program concert featuring dance and singing performance
  • 4-4:30 p.m. - Intermission featuring restaurant vendors, and on-site counselors/licensed therapists
  • 4:30-4:45 p.m. - Recognition of first responders with a choir performance
  • 4:45 p.m. - Lantern release and closing prayer

The students are also raising money for this march and celebration of life through a GoFundMe.

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