Bus Chronicles: Ft. Pierce to Savannah

2018-03-24T23:12:39+00:00 March 23rd, 2018|Bus Chronicles, Education, March For Our Lives, News, Parkland, Politics, Public Safety|

Six journalism students and two professors from Florida International University accompanied Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, alumni, parents and supporters on a 20-hour bus ride to Washington, DC from South Florida. As the caravan of four buses works its way north, the South Florida News Service will be chronicling the people involved and the things that happen along the way. To see the stories from earlier Friday, please click here. 

— Dan Evans, South Florida News Service

Brunswick, Georgia — 7:10 p.m. 

Paige Allen, an 18-year-old old Stoneman Douglas senior heading to DC,  believes the #MSDStrong movement is a push to protect everyone from violence.

Allen came on the bus ride to the March for Our Lives rally alone, saying it was important to show she supports gun control and she’s ready for college and independence.

She contrasted showing her support to people who don’t vote because they believe their votes don’t matter.

“It’s like throwing away power,” she said.

Allen hopes the march will achieve laws that create a difference, whether it is about mental health or gun control.

“There’s a shooting a week,” Allen said.

— Jessica Armella, South Florida News Service

Near the Florida-Georgia border — 6:10 p.m. 

Somehow, Kim Golodner is still awake. She was up all night Thursday to witness the birth of her third grandchild — and the first girl.

Phoenix Rose was born at 8:40 p.m. to parents Kasi and Phillip Rose. One of the first things her family did was put a March for Our Lives hat next to her tiny body.

“You have to be involved,” said Golodner. “If there’s anyone you love who’s going to be in school.”

Despite her weariness, she and Geri Jehlen discussed strategies for dealing with counterprotesters at the march Saturday.

The two women have five children between them, all graduates of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“You ignore them and you don’t engage,” said Golodner.

— Dan Evans, South Florida News Service

St. John’s County Rest Area — 5:15 p.m. 

At the second rest stop of the day, about six hours in, Piper High School junior Trevor Wilson groused that the only food available came from vending machines.

“I am so upset this isn’t a real food place,” Trevor said as he munched on a chocolate chip cookie from a leftover Subway lunch box.

Though it was the second stop, it was supposed to be the first. According to a MSD bus captain, the original stop near Ft. Pierce only happened because one of the five buses got separated from the rest and needed to catch up.

Trevor was hardly the only student growing bored with the candy, chips and other snacks many brought along at the start of the trip. Many said they were looking forward to the dinner break in Savanah, Georgia.

— Maria Gil, South Florida News Service

The middle section of bus three remained lively in the late afternoon. SFNS reporter Maria Gil captivated students Skylar Tauman, Trevor Wilson and William Berk, in a card game called Exploding Kittens. (Victoria Salas / SFNS)

The middle section of bus three remained lively in the late afternoon. SFNS reporter Maria Gil captivated students Skyler Tauman, Trevor Wilson and William Berk, in a card game called Exploding Kittens. (Victoria Salas / SFNS)

Near Cape Canaveral — 4:12 p.m.

By mid-afternoon, somewhere north of Cape Canaveral, when the I-95 traffic seemed neverending, that’s when the Subway boxes came out.

Subway stores in Parkland met the Stoneman Douglas travelers before they got on the buses this morning handing out boxed lunches.

There was ham, turkey or vegetable subs –  two for anyone who missed breakfast  – to eat on the road.

A box of chips and a gooey chocolate-chip cookie rounded out the meal, along with a letter.

“We could not be more proud of your determination, compassion and desire to incite true change for the future of this great country,” it read. “Thank you for making your voices heard and representing this great community we all call home. Enjoy the sandwiches and GO EAGLES!”

— Neil Reisner, South Florida News Service

The boxed lunch provided by Subway (SFNS / Neil Reisner)

The boxed lunch provided by Subway (SFNS / Neil Reisner)