Stoneman Douglas class of '08 now has bigger plans than 10-year reunion

Celebration shifting into fundraiser after deadly Parkland school shooting

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School class of 2008 had been planning a 10-year reunion this year.

But Wednesday's deadly mass shooting at the school has morphed that reunion into something more.

The 2008 class now wants to have a fundraiser event open to all alumni, or anyone who wants to support the school.

Jon Fistel, who was senior class president at the high school in 2008, said he and some former classmates started a Facebook group several months ago to plan their 10-year reunion.

They thought they might have it this summer at a bar or brewery in Parkland, their hometown.
But now they want their event to be about helping the families of the victims.

“What we’re going to do is, in the name of our 10-year reunion, launch an event that’s open to all Douglas alumni, all Parkland community members, and really anybody who’s willing to support and do something bigger to try and prevent this from occurring (again),” Fistel said. 

Fistel said he hopes to have a larger-scale event at a South Florida venue and sell tickets to raise money. 

“It’s a tight-knit community, and everybody knows somebody that was affected,” Fistel said. “It’s horrible, and you just hope we can all come together and do something to prevent it again.”

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He said he has wonderful memories of the time he spent at the school.

“Douglas was an unbelievable experience,” Fistel said. “On top of it being just one of the best schools academically, the teachers were caring.”

A tradition that continued after Fistel left. Several reports indicated that teachers shielded students from the gunfire Wednesday, some giving their lives in the process.

Fistel said he hopes to have an event venue nailed down by Monday and a website up and running by end of next week where people can buy tickets to support the cause. 

Where the money will go is still being determined, but he said priorities for the class of 2008 are supporting the loved ones of the 17 killed, protecting teachers and improving gun control.