COVINGTON, Ga. – Frank DeAngelis, the retired principal of Columbine High School, spoke to Advanced Placement English students studying the “Columbine” book at Eastside High School Tuesday.
DeAngelis said he was contacted by Ashlyn Lazenby, an Eastside teacher, who asked if he would talk with her class. He spoke five times during the day to different groups of students.
“These kids are so passionate,” he said. “I can just, you know a lot of times being a teacher you see how kids, or even adults, I pick up on people in attendance and just to see the reaction, you feed off that, and boy, it was easy. They’re just remarkable.”
DeAngelis served as principal at Columbine High School for 18 years. He had worked for the school in total for 35 years. He now serves as a consultant for safety and emergency management for the Jeffco School District in Colorado and continues to travel nationally and internationally, speaking and consulting.
On April 20, 1999, 12 students and one teacher were murdered during the Columbine High School massacre. DeAngelis started his Tuesday presentation by carefully reading off the names of the victims.
- Rachel Scott
- Daniel Rohrbough
- Dave Sanders
- Kyle Valasquez
- Steven Curnow
- Cassie Bernall
- Isaiah Shoels
- Matthew Kechter
- Lauren Townsend
- John Tomlin
- Kelly Fleming
- Daniel Mauser
- Cory Depooter
DeAngelis said he stayed as principal at Columbine through 2014 to make sure he was there to see every student who was in school during the shooting graduate, even if they were just in elementary school at the time.
He shared stories of the day, weeks, months and years after the shooting. He shared stories of the community coming together to rebuild and the work he has done since the incident to help improve school security around the world.
“There are good things in place here (at Eastside) that we did not have at Columbine,” he said.
DeAngelis left the students with a challenge. He told them to do 30 nice things between Tuesday and Spring Break in honor of the 13 Columbine victims and the 17 Parkland, Florida victims.
“I want you to carry forth because you’re the future, you’re the legacy,” he said. “There’s a Chinese proverb that says ‘A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.’ Let that step start today.”
This presentation was scheduled planned months ago and was not in the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Newton County School System Director of Public Relations Sherri Davis said.