GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Samantha Fuentes is a survivor of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“I was hoping to god it was just a dream,” Fuentes said.
It's been about a year since the shooting that took the lives of her classmates, and the shrapnel from the bullets shot into her leg that day remain in tact.
So does her spirit, which is why this student taught future teachers at Grand Valley State University Wednesday evening.
Fuentes shared how the experience has shaped her daily life, and future teachers studying at GVSU were able to have their questions about school safety and gun violence answered by a panel of experts.
“I will live with it the rest of my life. It’s been nearly a year since the shooting and I struggle to remind myself that I live in the present every single day,” Fuentes said.
Students in the audience adding they have one question, the same question many Americans are wondering themselves, which is how to keep students in the classroom safe. A conversation, ironically, not held in classrooms for aspiring educators very often.
“Not really, because it is a touchy subject with gun control and all of that ... so they kind of stay quiet,” GVSU student Gabby Roudeis said.
Another student adding, it's beneficial to hear first hand from someone like Samantha, who's been there, what teachers need to know.
“I think hearing from a survivor and someone that went through it is going to be beneficial procedures we can use in the classroom to benefit our students and ourselves,” GVSU student Alexi Wolf said.