Kennedy, Calhoun students talk gun violence on WGBB


Four Bellmore-Merrick high school students were highlighted Saturday on WGBB Radio, as they shared their thoughts on the post-Parkland, Florida, shooting movement against gun violence.

Two of the students were winners of a recent “Never Again” themed contest sponsored by the South Shore Women’s Alliance. All four have become activists and leaders in their schools.

Josephina Bonura, from Kennedy, the winner of the poster portion of the contest, and Anna Kirby, from Calhoun, who wrote the winning essay, were joined by Kennedy’s Justin Dynia and Calhoun’s Kara Vecchione, who helped organize her school’s 17-minute walkout on March 14.

Vecchione told radio host Lou Telano — who was skeptical at times of the students’ message — that she thinks legislation cracking down on guns is “long overdue.”

“The lack of action by our government represents one of the worst failures of democracy that we’ve seen,” Vecchione said. “I think right now we’re just fed up with it. We’re fed up with seeing countless innocent lives lost because our government refuses to do what it should.”

Dynia, meanwhile, went after the National Rifle Association and its supporters.

“It definitely seems like there’s a lack of compassion in … these people who are anti-gun control,” Dynia said.

Telano, at one point, challenged the students on what they believe they gained by walking out of school for 17 minutes, pointing out that government is hard to change. “I don’t know what you’re gonna accomplish besides getting on the air,” he said.

Vecchione responded that she felt the students, in losing 17 minutes of education, had gained 17 minutes of educating.

“I’d say that it kind of broken open a discussion in our school,” added Kirby.

Students in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District walked out of school, along with other students nationwide, on March 14, to protest gun violence and call for stricter gun laws.

Bonura and Kirby were to be presented with awards for their essay and poster on April 18, at a meeting of the SSWA.

Look for Kirby’s winning essay to be reprinted in an upcoming edition of the Herald.