The color guard from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School received a standing ovation after an emotional performance on center stage Thursday at the 2018 Winter Guard World Championships.
The team has dedicated their season to one of its members, 14-year-old Gina Montalto, who was one of 17 killed in the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the school in Parkland, Fla. Montalto was a freshman and would likely have made the trip to Dayton for next year’s competition, said Stoneman Douglas Band Director Alex Kaminsky.
"To get that standing ovation just meant the world to all of us ... Especially our kids,” Kaminsky said.
Kaminsky said channeling sadness into a big performance like this one was therapeutic.
"It's going to take some time, but gradually we're moving in the direction ... to just move forward," he said.
The performance impressed Barbara Farber, Buckeye Charter bus driver who has been the team’s driver for the Dayton event the past three years.
"I called my office manager and i said, those are our girls!” she said.
Farber said she’s been amazed by the students’ composure in light of the recent tragedy they experienced.
"It seems like a long time ago but it wasn't, it was two months, but you'd never know it with these girls," Farber said.