Miami reporter Kelli Kennedy has stayed in regular contact with students and parents from the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting, a connection that helped her produce a poignant account of this year’s graduating class which endured the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting as freshmen and who are now living through the pandemic as seniors.

Theirs is a story of a high school career disrupted and bookended by two separate traumas. In one of the most moving tales, Kennedy highlighted the life of one senior who lost her best friend in the shooting and moved to another state and school only to face difficulty connecting with new friends because of the pandemic.

Parkland Combo

At left, Ryan Servaites sits at a park in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 11, 2021. Servaites was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when the Valentine’s Day mass shooting occurred in 2018. He has found healing in activism and is passionate about enacting change. He sounds assured and self-confident … but it’s been a process. At right, Aria Siccone, 14, a student survivor of the school massacre, cries as she recounts her story from that day, while state Rep. Barrinton Russell comforts her as they talk to legislators at the state Capitol regarding gun control legislation, in Tallahassee, Fla., Feb. 21, 2018. Even before the COVID pandemic upended the lives of millions of high school students, the current class of Douglas seniors were inextricably linked by tragedy.

AP Photos / Marta Lavandier, left; Gerald Herbert

The story, timed to the third anniversary of the shooting, was picked up by more than 150 news outlets, generated 24,000 Facebook engagements and appeared on Florida front pages on a day otherwise dominated by Trump impeachment coverage.