May 18, 2018 started out like any other day for me and thousands of others. My alarm went off at 0445 and after snoozing for 30ish minutes I finally dragged myself out of bed to head to the hospital. By "day" I'm a labor and delivery nurse at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston...by "night" I'm your neighborhood photog!
I was running late, as usual, and when I arrived I hit the ground running. Roughly at 0740 a coworker approached our charge nurse in tears. Her child had called to inform her that there was a shooting at the school. Disbelief was my initial emotion. Utter disbelief. School shootings did not occur in my community. That was something far removed from my reality and only seen on TV or other forms of media. Yet, here we were...face to face with an event we could not even truly comprehend.
Several of my coworkers have children connected to Santa Fe High School. We all immediately started texting and calling to ensure families were safe. Children were safe. The news continued to roll in as the world learned of the passing of the ten individuals that day. We were all on high alert as we knew the potential for mass casualties was there.
Even now it seems so surreal. Even now as I have had direct contact with those involved in that day...it all just seems so surreal.
Everyone has an opinion on what went wrong, who was at fault, how could this have been prevented, and so on. I don't have answers to those questions. What I do know is I'm so blessed to live in a community that rallies to lift up and help one another despite these ugly circumstances.
Towards the end of May I was tagged in a Facebook post for an event for the Seniors of Santa Fe High School. Curious, I took a look and saw there was a group of individuals wanting to host a "Tribal Tune Up". The event was geared towards pampering the Seniors of Santa Fe High School on the day of their graduation. How do you give back in a situation like this as a photographer? I quickly reached out to Roberto to see if he would be interested in photographing the event. It was a swift reply of YES!
We love living in Alvin and being a part of the surrounding community. We love serving our community in any way we can. If we could help to bring joy into the lives of the students of Santa Fe High School then we wanted to do just that.
This was such an incredible event. So many vendors, businesses, and individuals donated time, talent, supplies, gifts, and food to honor the students. Make up artists and hair stylists were out in masses to pamper these amazing students to help make their graduation something special.
You see, so many can add to the noise by giving their opinion on gun control, school safety, or mental health issues, but in this moment, for these kids, the noise needed to go away. In this moment these amazing students needed to be just students. Not victims of a school shooting. Just teenagers on the cusp of their next adventure with the whole world at their fingertips. For a few hours, we were a part of the reduction in the noise. For a brief moment in time we helped to make the ugly in this world be overshadowed by the beauty of community, kindness, and love.
To the students of Santa Fe High School: you are so loved. This moment in time does not define you. Be the change you want to see. Be kind. Love well. Live well. In loving and living well you honor those who passed so cruelly and you make this world a better place.