Students at Oxford High School in Michigan played games like soccer and limbo and performed art projects including making tie-dye T-shirts with students from Robb Elementary School at the first-ever Survivors United Playday.
The event took place on Saturday, just days before Thanksgiving, six months since the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in this shooting.
According to Gladys Gonzalez, whose daughter Caitlyne was hiding in a classroom across from the hall where the shooting took place, game day was an important opportunity for the shooting survivors to be kids again.
“Our whole life has changed because of it,” Gonzalez told Good Morning America, adding that since the shooting, Caitlyne has struggled with anxiety and depression and has trouble sleeping.
“Their ability to be a kid, to let them play around, jump around, do their makeup, that means a lot,” Gonzalez said. “We appreciate everything the Oxford community has done for Uvalde.”
The game date was the brainchild of Zoe Touray, an 18-year-old who survived shooting on November 30, 2021 at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, Michigan. Four students were killed and seven people injured in the shooting.
“I have found so much comfort in meeting and speaking to other survivors,” Touray told GMA. “So that’s what triggered this event.”
According to Touray, the game date should resemble an elementary school field day, complete with relay races and games.
“It’s trying to remember what it was like to be normal kids back in the day just because they lost so much so young,” she said, adding, “I just hope they have some kind of big brother.” take along. Kind of a big sister, hopefully they can FaceTime me and have a big sister going through the same thing.”
Touray, who has since graduated from Oxford High School, joined more than a dozen current students at the event, who together founded the Oxford Legacy Foundation.
“It helps to feel supported and loved, which is why we’re really here today to give back to another community what we felt in our community,” said Gavin, one of the Oxford students who traveled to Uvalde.
And although the two cities are far apart, the students said the game’s date gave them a first-hand look at the similarities between them.
“It brings back a lot of memories because you see the Uvalde Strong signs all over the city here and it really takes you back to when everything happened to us and you saw the Oxford Strong signs everywhere,” traveled Adrian , an Oxford student, according to Uvalde, said “GMA”. “It just feels really similar.”