One month after Saugus High shooting: ‘We will be OK’

Residents stand around the memorial set up at the Central Park flag pole at the Saugus Strong Vigil in 2019. Signal file photo.
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One month ago Saturday, the Santa Clarita Valley was rocked by the Saugus High School shooting that left three teenagers dead, three others wounded and thousands more scarred. 

Today, those affected and those who watched the deadly events of Nov. 14 on their cellphones and televisions from sister schools or from their jobs have shown that they are Saugus Strong, including many from outside the Santa Clarita Valley. 

Students streaming out of Saugus High School walk toward a line of buses waiting to take them to a safe location Thursday, Nov. 14. A vigil is scheduled for Sunday, p.m., and can be viewed at Bobby Block / The Signal.

On Nov. 14, a 16-year-old boy opened fire on campus and shot five students and then turned the weapon on himself. The events of the tragedy might be difficult to wash away from residents’ memories, but the community, including the students, has shown resilience and unity as they resume their routines. 

“As we enter our campus today, we know that things will not be the same,” said Saugus senior Tyler Nilson on Dec. 2, the day the school resumed classes, two weeks after the William S. Hart Union High School District reopened the rest of its campuses.

Duchess, a certified therapy dog, waits to comfort students after a deadly shooting occurred at Saugus High School last week. Courtesy of Sandy Dubin

Upon their return to their previous routine, students have had access to therapy sessions on campus and other activities to help with healing. 

Outside of school grounds, the community has voiced support through multiple efforts such as starting GoFundMe accounts for the families of the wounded, hosting arts events for teenagers to express themselves and even placing “Saugus Strong” signs on their storefronts. 

“The support from the community has been beyond anything we as a district could have hoped for,” said Dave Caldwell, Hart District spokesman. “It truly shows the heart of this community and it’s that heart that makes Santa Clarita.” 

That support was evident Nov. 17 as thousands from in and around the valley gathered in Central Park for a vigil to remember the lives lost and reunite in their grief. 

“We will be OK,” Saugus High ASB President Andrei Mojica, 17, said. “We are resilient, we are courageous, we are loving and most of all, we are Saugus strong.”

On Tuesday, Councilwoman Laurene Weste suggested that the City Council consider adding a memorial at Central Park for a place to “find healing,” she said. 

Students remember peers Gracie Anne Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell, who died as a result of the Saugus High School shooting on Nov. 14. Tammy Murga/ The Signal

“I just know that I have the same feeling that there needs to be a place that’s appropriate for those students and I wanted to just bring it up and let the community think about it,” added Weste. 

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