Pickerington Central receives award from father of Sandy Hook victim

PICKERINGTON, OH (WCMH) — Pickerington High School Central received an award on Tuesday for showing student awareness, responsibility, acts of kindness and integrity throughout the school. The ‘Start With Hello’ Community Reach and Sustainability Award which is part of a leading gun violence prevention organization called Sandy Hook Promise.

This award means a lot to the school and to the man who presented the award, Mark Barden’s 7-year-old son Daniel was killed in sandy hook 5 years ago.

Mark Barden, “He would wake up happy, he was an affectionate articulate smart little boy he will hold doors for strangers, he would pick up worms from sidewalks and put them in the grass so they wouldn’t burn in the sun he was an exceptionally compassionate little boy I miss him desperately.”

Part of the sandy hook promise is to come together and if you see something say something. If you see someone sitting alone to say hi or just acknowledge they are there.

When Mark Barden told his story to 1,800 students about the loss of Daniel, silence and tears filled the room.

Senior Zak Sharif thought Barden’s speech was powerful, “It’s incredibly powerful we just have the upmost respect for someone like that to go through that and still come here and try to make something positive I think that something admirable we should all look up to him and be gracious that we expect it from him.”

Principal Stacey Tennenbaum took to heart the sandy hook promise, it means a lot to her that Pickerington High School Central received an award for the progress made at the school. She first heard of Mark Barden and the Sandy Hook Promise Program months back at a conference and knew she needed to bring the program to her school.

“building relationships and having a sense of community in your high school and that’s with this program helps to do it helps to make everyone feel important and makes everyone feel like they’re not alone but they know that we’re here for them,” Tennenbaum said.

Mark Barden said to the school, “You’re doing amazing work here and from the bottom of my heart and somewhere my little Daniel thanks you.”

Barden added, “I think it’s an appropriate way to honor him.”

Mark thinks about his son every day and hopes a program like this helps prevents another tragedy from happening.

For more information about the program visit http://www.sandyhookpromise.org/

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