Guns > Kids

Students react to a Lockdown Drill on April 20, 2023


Graphic by Alanna Stein

Safety is a major concern, but how long can students be scared to come to school to receive an education?

95% of American public schools implement strict lockdown drills. However, there is almost no research confirming the value of these procedures for preventing school shootings. Instead, there is overwhelming research affirming the negative psychological impacts of scaring children into hiding. This is our life: daily threats and weekly drills. our lives are at risk simply for receiving an education. During lockdowns, they tell us to hide under our desks for protection. But, desks are not bulletproof, so what are they protecting us from? This is what WE felt during Eastern’s recent lockdown drill…

Scared S***less

Alanna Stein ‘24


   The route from room 309 to 605 is short. I turn the corner, walk three strides, and enter through Mr. Bowne’s light oak door— the same door separating life and death. I’ve never been fond of the quick trip, wishing I could trade two minutes of travel time for six minutes of socialization. But, today, I’ve never been more thankful to arrive to class early. 

   I was within the four walls of concrete when the lockdown was initiated. I was within the four walls of concrete when lost students scrambled throughout the hallways. I was within the four walls of concrete when a potential shooter threatened my life. Yet, I was within four walls of absolutely no service. I was spiraling. The fear of life outside the light oak door, combined with the inability to reach my parents, paralyzed my sixteen-year-old body. 

   Mr. Bowne sensed my panic, engaging in conversation to distract my wandering mind. But honestly, I just wanted to scream, “SHUT UP!” in his face. He would never be able to divert my attention from the frightening truth that this may not be a drill. My heart was pounding. My blood was rushing. My eyes were wandering. I caught a glimpse of the wall decor above Mr. Bowne’s light oak door: a neon yellow sign that read “BELIEVE.” 

   But, I couldn’t “BELIEVE”

   No, I didn’t “BELIEVE” that the lockdown epidemic reached my school. 

   I was within the four walls of concrete, so presumably, I was protected…right? But, I’m not, and I never will be. For as long as a gun can enter Eastern’s doors, my only “protection” is a light oak door and four walls of concrete. Will that be enough to protect me from an AK-47?  


Casual but Confused

Julia Capozzoli ‘25

Staff Reporter

   Journalism is a swift walk from my first period history class. After a minute’s walk with my friends, without a care in the world, I arrived as one of the first students to the class. As I reached for my computer, the announcement went off. Hearing “a lockdown had been initiated” is never comforting. I was caught off guard because I’ve never been exposed to a drill during a break period. My teacher called out into the hallway, and next thing I know confused students, who are not normally in my class, walked into the room. As the lights were turned off, the only source of brightness was the projector. I sat in the back of the room for minutes straight wondering whether I should be giving this situation a greater reaction. As the lockdown drill came to an end, and the light switch was flipped upright, those who didn’t belong in the room left and I returned to normal. I wasn’t even phased. Meanwhile, students in other areas have experienced a lockdown being completely real and necessary. Is it wrong of me to feel completely safe when I could very well not be? 



Aiden Kremer ‘23

Assistant Sports Editor

   Having study hall first, I was here after the first period. I walked up to the door without a thought in my mind. I went to pull the door toward me and it didn’t budge. After taking a look inside, I saw people being ushered into the office and running into classrooms. My first thought was that i’m probably in the worst spot if there were to be a school shooting. Outside and exposed. But after not being told to move from the building I assumed it was a drill. I thought, what if it wasn’t one?



Kaitlin Swift ‘24

Opinion Editor

  This was the only lockdown drill that didn’t scare me. I was dropping off my cans for the food drive to Ms. Mancinelli in room 609, and then walked into Mr Bowne’s room in 605 for Journalism. I walked through the “Cube of Knowledge”, grabbed my computer from the cart, and sat in the back near the bookshelves. Things were normal. Then, I heard the loudspeaker. “A lockdown has been initiated.” 

   I used to be terrified every time Eastern had a lockdown drill. My throat went numb, my stomach felt sick, and I wondered whether it was actually a drill. I feared lockdowns because of how integral education is in my life. My mom and dad are both high school teachers. My mom works near Temple. Just last year there was an active shooter at my dad’s school in Bristol, Pennsylvania. I was terrified for him, and it made me feel a pit in my stomach every time a lockdown was announced at Eastern. But today, I didn’t even question it. 

   The lockdown was odd, because it was during the transition between classes, but I just figured it was a drill. I just went back to my regular life. I opened up my computer, played the “no connection” dinosaur game as I tried to get it connected to the wifi, and just sat in the dark. There were two random kids across from me. But this is normal now. Lockdowns are so commonplace, I barely fear them anymore. Now, I fear for my dad’s life at school because of his cardiac condition. 

   When an active shooter was in his school, I was horrified, but knew he could protect himself. He was strong, able to protect his students. He was bulky, keeping his muscles so that he could train his wrestlers and protect the people he cares about.  He was sent to the hospital eight years ago, for defending a female student while she was being attacked. But now, he can’t protect himself. He has lost his strength from the blood thinners and isosorbide. He has dizzy spells, headaches, nausea. He constantly feels weak after the heart attack. If I’m not scared of him dying from a heart attack while teaching, I’m scared of him dying from an active shooter in his biology classroom.

 I guess this is why I wasn’t super scared of today’s lockdown. The anxiety I feel when there is a lockdown pales in comparison to what I feel everyday when my dad goes to work. I wish there was a day where I wouldn’t wonder if my dad was going to die in the classroom. Will there ever be a day I don’t have the additional paranoia about a school shooting?


Dazed and Confused

Timur Markowitz ‘24

Entertainment Editor

   It’s very odd when guidance counselors yell at me. I was walking through the 800s hallway, listening to “Where is My Mind” by The Pixies, when I was sent into some guidance counselor’s office – one that I didn’t even know the name of. For a moment, I wasn’t even sure why people were entering the guidance office. I looked around, confused, waiting for somebody to direct me somewhere. 

   Perhaps it’s negligent to say that I really couldn’t have cared less at that moment. I’m aware that the guidance counselors were worried, but I felt pretty calm. It didn’t hurt that many people in the guidance counselor’s office were joking around the whole time.

   I wasn’t walking with a friend, nor with anybody I knew— apart from Childish Gambino in my ears. I didn’t take my earbuds out ,though, for whatever reason. Perhaps I couldn’t have been bothered. 

   It felt odd, but I wasn’t afraid. Nothing too interesting happens at Eastern, for better or worse, but I did feel slightly disoriented, despite not feeling overly cautious. Logically, I was aware of the fundamental reality that it was very unlikely that something was actually going to happen.

   While I think that it was incredibly inconvenient to have a drill between classes, I wasn’t entirely surprised that this was something that “they,” whoever “they” might be, would pull off but, frankly, this whole situation felt like a minor inconvenience. 

   Perhaps I’ve been numbed by so many of these, thinking that every time it happens, all I can think is “this again?” or perhaps I’m just a cynic. I won’t say I didn’t buy it for a second, but there was still some feeling of control or calm.

   I can’t say that I consider suburban South Jersey to be a dangerous neighborhood, particularly the comparatively affluent area in which Eastern is located. I understand the imperative nature of these drills, but I can’t help but feel inconvenienced and slightly irate. 

   Nonetheless, once the drill was completed, everybody just moved on to their next class, as though everything was completely normal. 


On Edge

Madison Soffian ‘25 

Staff Reporter

   The blue lockdown light flashed and I didn’t think much of it until teachers began to speak up. This is when the stroll from math to journalism turned into a run; but not because I wanted to get there faster. This had never happened during the 6 minute transition period, causing a more substantial reaction to a casual lockdown drill; which was not so casual or drill-like at all. 

   I was originally listening to music and did not even react; it was not until I caught sight of the distraught faces of my teachers and my friend telling me we needed to go somewhere, when I realized this abnormality could be serious. As I turned towards gym 2, I saw staff from the guidance office ushering students towards them in an urgent manner, yelling and compiling kids into their office. 

   I turned and entered the nearest classroom.

   My first thought was that if anyone were to get killed, it would be our room, the one with 1 lock and 2 doors, over 40 students, and no windows or teachers. Many students believed this was real, even those who had the calmest look of relief on their face were still the slightest bit on edge. 

   The door without a lock was soon bombarded with a podium that had been dragged across the classroom and shades immediately pulled down. Now, all everyone could do was wait, having a quiet sense of urgency after an immense adrenaline rush at 8 am on a Thursday, that turned out just to be a drill. 


Confused and Afraid

Victoria Foster ‘26

Staff Reporter

  “Beep beep. A lockdown…”   What? I couldn’t hear anything after that.   

    I was exiting the glass hallway in my normal walk from study hall to room 605. I was immediately on autopilot when I heard the announcement. 

   I entered Gym 2. What do I do now? Nowhere is safe. If this is real, a shooter could be in the room right now. Looking to other students to create a plan, everyone just started walking with a sense of urgency. We were all in the same situation and at that moment, nothing really mattered but making sure everyone was safe. 

   Is this real? 

    Moving quickly trying to reach somewhere safe, I tried my best to stay calm. I eventually left gym 2 and reached room 709, which had many students in it. Sure, there is safety in numbers, but I was also afraid in case a shooter had entered the room with the crowd. I was probably in one of the less safe places in the school in the case of a threat.

     I saw one of my friends once I entered the room and was grateful that I wouldn’t be alone in such a situation. I never thought I would have to send that text, “Are you guys ok?” hoping my friends had reached somewhere safe. I was scared for my life. 

    We know exactly what we are supposed to do in these situations, but what should we do? If I hear a gunshot, what’s the next step? Do I open the window and jump out? Do I just sit here and hope for the best? Do I use my backpack as a layer of protection? Someone could pull out a gun at any moment. With so many thoughts going through my mind, the most important thing on my mind was the safety of my friends. I was lucky to find safety, but some of them are in the bathroom, and some might have been locked out in the hallway. 

    “The lockdown drill has concluded. Everyone go to your expression 4 class.” 

    Anger, hate, and distrust formed within me. Why right now? We had no warning, the teachers had no idea. There were plenty of students who just thought of it as a silly drill, but the other’s felt as I did. I hate the school for doing this to us. They never explained to us what to do if this happens during a passing period. 

   Was this even fake? What if there actually was a shooter? What if it was real and someone is just pretending it was fake in order to get us in the hallway? There are so many “what ifs” running through my mind. 

    Everyone in the room felt like true danger could be approaching us. No one seemed that frightened, but we all were silently waiting for that one gunshot to let us know this is real. Texting my friends 30 minutes later, some students are still traumatized. “I can’t focus now.” Many were desensitized to such a thing, and are still unfazed, but for some, this was traumatizing. There has to be a better way to inform students of how to react in a situation so terrible.

    It felt like a joke about death that only a few people were in on. We can never be safe at school. 



Maya Dunkelman ‘24

Features Editor

   Never had we had a lockdown while switching classes. I guess there is a first time for everything, right?

   My natural reaction was anger. Why bring terror through the whole student body? Why at 8:25 in the morning? So many thoughts spiral through my mind.

    The first being: Is there any right way to handle an active shooter situation in schools? In the darkness of the guidance office, I pictured the real situation occurring. Maybe the shooter would start banging on the door. Where would they shoot first? What would they look like? Would I really have just sat there in the desk chair in the back corner? Would the students on the opposite side of the room still be laughing?  This started my frustration as I came to the conclusion that a drill like this would serve no purpose in a real life situation. 

    My second observation: The teacher’s reactions. I was not scared until seeing the guidance office administration’s eyes widen at the flashing lights and overhead announcements. They were panicking and shouting. I felt unsafe because they felt unprepared. They could not seem to find a cohesive response. Some visibly stressed, the others continued computer work. It became apparent the lack of training and preparation that they received to handle intense situations such as these. Teachers need to assume responsibility over their students. They are my parents when I’m at school. 

    My third impending thought: Why? It is ironic the amount of normalcy this drill emerged out from. I could not have picked a more boring time or day. The energy shifted from zero to one hundred. A junior in front of me immediately started crying. The same student was expected to return to class unfazed the next period. A drill like this engrains the idea of a shooting into the minds of children. While all students are aware of the reality in America, is it necessary to push the anxiety onto students? 



The “What the Hell” Moment

Madison Jolley ‘23

Co-Managing Editor

   A lockdown drill can come as a surprise on a random Thursday morning. I was walking through the 800s hallway talking to my friend about the snap AI’s, when all of the sudden I hear over the loudspeaker “a lock down has been initiated.” I then turn around to Mr. Susko yelling his head off, “everyone find a classroom!”. Luckily, the closest classroom to me belonged to Mr. Kemery, a teacher that I always go to for creative advice. Myself and about 15 other students ran into the room and waited patiently as we all tried to figure out what in the world was going on. As for me, I was more focused on my hands being ashy and my urgent need for lotion. All of the sudden, my friend turns to me and says “someone is saying that they’re bringing out the drug dogs”. I give her a confused look and say “now what the hell is going on?”. After two minutes of questioning, the “drill” ended and everyone left in scurry for their next class.



Sydney Steiner ‘24

Director of Advertisement

   The normal hallway traffic pisses me off more than usual. I am at a stand-still when the alarm goes off. Is this a drill? These procedures are not uncommon. Students across America constantly participate in these protective measures. I am afraid to enter school everyday. There have been more 2023 shootings in the United States than there have been days this year. I should’ve been afraid when the blue lockdown light began flashing. I should’ve had the knot in my throat that always appears when I hear the words, “A lockdown has been initiated”. I should’ve been scared. But I wasn’t. Is there something wrong with me? Why did this lockdown leave me unfazed? 

   I stroll into the 20 cafeteria, with no urgency might I add, to find no teacher in sight. It was just a group of students continuing their daily routines with the addition of an insignificant interruption. The lights are on, is the door even locked? The thought slips away faster than it appeared. 

   No one around me seems panicked, so there’s no reason to be afraid. It’s just a drill, I think, no reason to get worked up. I lean to my left to grab my phone from my backpack. 

   I hear gunshots. 

   The text flashes across my screen. You would think that fear would start to pump through my veins, but it doesn’t. On any other day, at any other time, 



Janah Hassan ‘26

Staff Reporter

   As I was walking from my financial literacy class, I saw the blue lights go off. The girl in front of me started running towards the 800 hallway, so I followed her. I heard the teachers yelling at everyone to go inside a classroom, and that’s when I realized it was a lockdown. Honestly it felt surreal. It truly did not feel real. As I made my way into the nearest classroom, I got scared and worried, but once I saw the teacher lock the door, I felt a little at ease. The group of people next to me had an unpleasant look on their faces, and soon, I was a part of that group. We didn’t know if it was a drill. Everyone in that classroom varied from different ages, but I was sure we were all feeling the same exact way. “Is this real?” is probably what was running through our heads. Minutes pass, and some people start to sit down. That’s when I heard the bell ring, indicating that we have to head to our classes. Were we really in school still? It definitely didn’t feel like it. After a while, we heard the speakers say “The lockdown drill has concluded”. I can speak for everyone in that class when I’m saying that we felt relieved. Like a heavy weight was lifted off of our shoulders. I saw someone praying, and I couldn’t help the urge to recite some prayers in the back of my head as well. Sure, it was loud in the hallways, but it felt silent to me. Why do we have to treat this as the real thing? I’m just a kid. 


A Casual Stroll

Tadhg Beale ‘25

Creative Writing Editor

I was cutting through the courtyard with a fellow classmate, Lydia, discussing the answers we got on the math review last period when all of the sudden we hear administrators yelling to “GET IN A CLASS!! THERE’S A LOCKDOWN.” I thought about this for a moment. We’ve never had a lockdown drill in between classes. Could this possibly be real? I suppressed that thought. No way there was a shooter in my school. Right? 

Despite being hounded by administrators to get into a classroom, Lydia and I did not seem to really feel a sense of urgency or fright: we both refused to believe that there could be a shooter in our school. At this point it was only me and Lydia still out in the courtyard. I commented to Lydia how horrifying it would be if we started to hear gunshots and we were just casually strolling outside. 

After this, we began to discuss if we did hear gunshots, what would we do? Lydia, jokingly, suggested that our best bet would be to hide in one of the many bushes. The thought of a lunatic with a gun in our school was finally starting to really sink in and a feeling of fight or flight was kicking in. Beginning to fear the worst, I made a sincere suggestion, that being our best bet would be to go through the athletics trainers to the side parking lot. Despite my anxiety, I continued traipsing calmly with Lydia, waiting to hear something.

Thankfully, there were no shots while I crossed the courtyard. Once inside the building, I was quickly ushered into a tiny teachers lounge. Once in that little cubby, I realized it was a drill because I could hear the walkies from the administrators as they made their rounds around the school. I was instantly relieved and the tenseness I felt finally subsided. 

I sat in silence inside that teachers lounge and I began to notice just how unsafe the room I was in really was. The room had no lock and only a small window that I would never be able to squeeze through. If a shooter did get to my humble hiding spot, I was as good as dead. 


Unexpected Incident

Lee Buckingham ‘23

Staff Reporter

   It was April 20th, 2023.

   I was walking from my first period, English, heading to my pottery class cutting through people in the hallways thinking about what I should make next in the class.

   It was 8:23.

   I arrived at the pottery room, since it was not that far from my English class I tend to get there early most of the time.

   Unexpectedly the school’s speaker called in a lockdown. “A lock down has been initiated, I repeat a lock down has been initiated”, Repeatedly.

   Never ever was there a lock down in the middle of people heading to their classroom. I was suspicious and worried. This can’t be real right? There is no way that there may be a shooter in the school. Another classmate and I were the only ones there at the same time, random students from different classrooms burst into the room. I was worried about my other classmates wondering where they were. I was thinking to myself, “Did they make it into a classroom?” or “I hope they’re not trapped in the bathroom.” People that came from different classes did not have some sort of worried expression of what was happening but were thinking the same thing I was? Thankfully I did not hear any sort of shots. I heard the administrators walkie talkies and was finally calm and stopped stirring up my thoughts. 

   It was a drill, thank goodness.  


A Threat to Our Safety 

Brianna Panchal ‘25

Staff Reporter

   I walked into Eastern at approximately 8:10 am and sat down in the attendance office, waiting for my gym class to return from playing tennis outside. I was extremely exhausted from staying up too late and felt my eyes shut every two seconds as I counted the minutes until I would be walking to math class.

  As soon as the bell rang, I took a very short walk to my class when suddenly a lockdown was initiated. Thankfully, I managed to make it  before the classroom doors were locked. At first I thought that it was nothing to be worried about or that they announced it at the wrong time, but hearing people frantically passing through the hallways brought some confusion and distress. The five of us that made it to class sat in a corner of the classroom huddled for over 10 mins and wondered whether or not it was a drill or a reality. When the announcements abruptly came on, I was confused, knowing that it had been the first time that we have ever had a drill in between classes.

  As the other students in my class began to file in, I realized that my quiet, calm lockdown experience was not even close to what most people experienced. Some of my friends were stuck in a classroom with approximately forty other people and were caught in the panic of whether or not the lockdown was a drill. Come to think of it, if I had not come into school late, my lockdown experience may have been completely different.

 With that being said, the lockdown drill made me realize that even if students and teachers are doing their best to ensure safety, there is still a level of panic knowing that our safety is not entirely protected.


Are We Done Yet?

Dawn Betner ‘23

Sports Editor

   On April 20th, 2023, we underwent a lockdown drill at Eastern Regional High School. I would also like to preface this by saying that this was on the 24th anniversary of the Columbine Massacre. When it happened, I was in the bathroom. I had my airpods in and was listening to “Enchanted” by Taylor Swift when I walked out of the stall.

   As I started towards the door, a girl informed me that we were in a lockdown. Another girl asked, “You haven’t heard us talking about it for the past 5 minutes?” which I denied. I looked around at the 15 other girls in the bathroom with me and decided it would just be easier for me to sit in a stall until it was over. I wasn’t scared. These things don’t scare me. I just wanted it to be over so I could continue on with my boring school day. There was a faculty member who was corralling students in the hall and putting them in whichever bathroom they belonged in.

  Once it was over, I walked to my class and was made aware that the majority of the students and teachers had no clue what was going on or what to do. Like me, a bunch of my classmates had their airpods in at the time. I know personally that mine are always blocking out the outside noise, and I’d like to assume that most people like it the same way. This is clearly a hazard in times of emergency. It’s nice, however, that we have the blue strobe lights, but that could still be confusing to students who don’t know the meaning.

  In the end, there’s a lot we need to change as students in order to have that sense of safety, but it’s a shame we have to take these precautions at all. 


The Fright 

Rylee Pearlman ‘25 

Assistant Features Editor

   The walk to my Spanish class from Gym 4 always annoys me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m walking into a 56 minute Spanish class, but on a random April Thursday, I couldn’t be more relieved. As soon as I walked through the door, I saw my teacher’s face drop. Running to the corner, I watched the nearby teachers storm the hallway grabbing and yelling at kids to get into their rooms. Seconds later, I wasn’t alone in the corner again. I started to shake as I pulled out my phone to text my mom; I was more scared to text her than a possible shooter roaming the halls. The very last thing I wanted to do was scare her, realizing now it’s impossible for her not to freak out after she reads a text from me saying we are in a lockdown. I took a minute to think if this could be a possible drill, but by my teacher’s face, and the alarm going off during the passing period, I came to the conclusion that this is reality, and that my school is not safe. Seconds later I hear another announcement announcing the end of the drill. I let out a breath of air I didn’t know I was holding and immediately texted my mom again. I know she was at home freaking out, and shockingly i felt incredibly guilty. Although none of that was my fault, I felt bad for freaking her out. My mom then texted me that I should never be sorry for texting her in any situation, and that made me feel much better. It’s important to be prepared for anything, but after the fright yesterday, I couldn’t feel more insecure in any place. I am so uncomfortable that these “drills” are happening monthly in my school; a place to learn, not hide.  Why do these “drills” not make me feel safe? 


Just a Normal Day at School

Rachel Squire ‘23

Staff Reporter 

   When the lockdown drill began during the six-minute passing period between expression one and expression two, I had already made it to my AP Literature classroom. I was not in class for long when students from the hallway started flooding in. We were herded like cattle into the corner of the room. I was standing with two of my English classmates. 

  One of my friends, who is not in the class, happened to be walking by as the strobe lights began flashing; she was shoved into my class with me. Since I knew it was a drill, I did not take this lockdown seriously. “Maybe this drill will take awhile, and I won’t have to write my practice FRQ.” However, during that twenty minute drill, I started thinking a lot about what this country has come to. I turned to my friends and asked, “do you think they do this at schools in Europe?” We agreed that it was unlikely.

  Our country has become a place where you can get shot just by existing anywhere at any time. In school, we are constantly participating in lockdown drills; it has become a normalcy. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a common argument of those who do not want restrictions on guns. If people kill people, not guns, how is it that countries with better gun control laws don’t have this problem?

  How is it that people in other countries, who don’t have easy access to guns, aren’t finding other ways to kill? It’s the guns. Wake up.


Changing for Gym 

Zoey Blackman ‘24

Staff reporter

     I made it to the gym locker room dreading changing into my uniform. I sat on the floor waiting for the bell to ring. But it didn’t. Instead the room was filled with a much different sound. After the lockdown was announced, everyone looked at each other; a sense of confusion filled their stares. The teachers in the locker room started to raise their voices, ordering us to remain quiet and seated. I overheard one of them whisper, “We didn’t know this was happening”. The teachers started to shuffle boys from the gym into the room with us. There were boys in the girls locker room! I had never seen anything like it. We sat in silence until the drill concluded. Looking back, it’s crazy to me that I complained about putting on a smelly outfit when I could’ve been in a much worse situation. At the end of the day, I had to change anyway. My class continued as if nothing ever happened. But, something did happen, and it can’t be ignored. 



Sophia Langan ‘24

Special to The Voyager

6:34 AM. I checked my phone, as I typically do, while packing my backpack for my school day. I browsed through my email inbox, checking my subscription to a daily historical remembrance site. Today in 1999, the Columbine High School shooters took 13 lives in Littletown, Colorado. This reality stayed in the back of my mind throughout my classes. 

8:17 AM. Fearful of dozing off in my physics class, I sat at my desk, pretending to be invested in the lesson about electricity and resistance. I struggle to stay awake in this class, and I always zone out mid-lesson. 

8:25 AM. The bell just rang, and I was walking to gym class with a few friends of mine. All of a sudden, the loudspeaker blared: All students report to class. This is a lockdown. I repeat this is a lockdown. A sense of panic struck the students in the hallway. We all began rushing to get into the nearest classroom. There had never been a lockdown drill initiated during our passing period before. 

8:27 AM. A couple of my male friends and I crammed into the closest safe space: the girls’ locker room. When we walked in, we found about 30 students (male and female) huddled against the walls and lockers. As we sat down and awaited news, it became evident that the teachers had no idea that there was to be a lockdown drill today. With Columbine in my mind, I was less than comforted. In a panic, I glanced around the room, ensuring that my friends meant to be in my gym class were present. All of them were there— aside from Olivia. Hurriedly, my friend sent Liv a text message asking where she was during the lockdown. Liv replied, “There’s a lockdown?” 

8:32 AM. After another couple minutes of sitting around in silence, everyone in the locker room took a breath of relief. The loudspeaker had just informed us that the lockdown “drill” had concluded and that everyone could report to their next class. A moment later, Liv ran into the locker room. She had been in the bathroom, which did not have a speaker in it when the “drill” began. When she caught wind of what was going on, she and a handful of other girls clambered into bathroom stalls, locking the doors and standing on toilets to keep their feet off the ground. I was just glad she was okay. 

2:37 PM. My bus dropped me off a block away from my house, and I reviewed the events of the day in my head. When I arrived at my house, I grabbed the mail and walked to my garage as I had forgotten my key. I saw a small robin laying on the pavement of my driveway, feathers blowing in the wind. It looked like it was breathing. It was not. 

2:56 PM. Cardboard, a spade, and gloves in my hand, I approached the bird. After I picked it up, I opened the gate to the field behind my house. I walked around until I found a spot I thought was fitting, and I dug a small hole. I placed the robin in the hole, laid a couple of flowers I had picked in with it, and packed the displaced dirt back in place. I felt a tear in my eye.


A Broken Silent Serenity

Ajay Raj ‘24

Special to The Voyager

 I was strolling past the 500 cafe. My earbuds were blasting in my left and right ear. I tuned out the bustling, endless conversations of the crowded halls. My eyes were droopy from a lack of replenishment (sleep) and from my tenuous class work as the infamous AP Exams came knocking on the door. I was so removed from my surroundings, exhausted, and immersed in Kendrick Lamar’s new album. 

     My silent serenity stopped when the blue lights in the halls flashed, almost blinding me. A teacher yelled for me to run into her room before she locked the door. I didn’t know her, but she seemed like a nice lady in the art department. She was decorating her room as though hosting a fiesta. It was a short while that I remained with a few other students who were pulled into her room, but I enjoyed my stay in her colorful, vibrant oasis.



Ava Hammel ‘24

Special to The Voyager

          As I walked down the 800s hallway, discussing a potential trip to the mall with my friend, the continuous “A lockdown has been initiated! Lockdown!” traveled throughout the halls. We turned to each other, saying no words, but sharing the same fear and confusion. 

   This was the first time a lockdown occurred during a transition between classes. Before getting a chance to communicate with each other, a woman appears from guidance. She pushed us past the doors. She seemed uneasy. We were the first few sent into the guidance room, so we dropped our bags and sat across from the computers in the back corner. 

          Within the next minute, the room became packed— filled with around 80 students. More continued to arrive and pile in. The guidance counselors shouted, “Open the office doors and move in!” 

   This would fit more students. The lights shut off. My friend and I were crammed in the dark corner, unable to see, except the outlines of 100 bodies. The flow of anxious voices filled the room. My phone buzzed — a text from my freshman sister. 

   “Why are we in a lockdown?” 

    I stared at it. I did not reply. I had no idea what was happening.


Just Why?

Max Cwanger ‘24

Special to The Voyager

 I was on my way from physics to study hall, walking through the hallway. All of a sudden, I heard the loudspeaker. A man exclaimed, “A lockdown has been initiated. Lockdown!” 

   An instant feeling of shock and fear ran through me. At first, I didn’t even comprehend it. What was happening? For a few seconds, I continued to walk until the teachers in the English 400 Hallway told students to go into their classrooms. 

   I walked into a random classroom with a bunch of random students— freshmen to seniors. The teacher told us to go to the back corner of the classroom where we crowded for about five to ten minutes. 

   As soon as the announcement came on, telling the school that the drill was over, the whole classroom sighed a breath of relief. I continued to study hall, as nothing had happened, but all I could think of was  why the school would have a lockdown in the middle of switching classes.


I Pledge Allegiance…

Hannah Escritor ‘24

Special to The Voyager

 Sydney Steiner and I were walking down the hallway by the 20 Cafeteria from AP Chemistry to Journalism and Gym. We rarely leave that class on time, usually staying to chat with Mrs. Felix or to ask “just one more” question. 

   That day happened to be one of the days that we did leave on time because we had a substitute. We both heard a sound from the speaker but didn’t understand what it was until we saw the flashing blue lights. The 20 Cafeteria hallway doesn’t have any classrooms, so we were quickly ushered into the large lunchroom.

     No supervision. It was just us and a bunch of other kids who got caught in the six-minute shuffle from class to class. One of the students, who I believe was a senior, closed the doors to the cafeteria and rolled down the black fabric protector. This series of events sparked an interesting dialogue. 

     In the event of an active shooter, would they really believe that no one was in the classrooms? Would they really believe that the still brightly lit and bustling cafeteria was empty just because the curtain was dropped? Would they believe that the glowing IPads, abandoned on desks in the middle of Kahoots! and lecture notes, really didn’t belong to anyone? It doesn’t make much sense; these spaces were obviously recently inhabited.

     One of my good friends lives in England, and she finds the idea of these drills preposterous. When I told her about them, I was reminded that the usual reaction to an active shooter drill is, “Oh gosh, this is really scary,” as opposed to, “Aw yeah, the math test will be postponed,” or, “Alrighty, another few minutes to chat with my friends.” 

   The US is the only country that has this problem. Children of all ages are already desensitized to these drills. In the event of an actual active shooter, the administrators would have to announce that it was not a drill. Everyone is too far desensitized to these drills to take them as anything more than an opportunity to fit in one more song or to play one more round of Uno.

     We remove the prospect of an active shooter from our daily fears because we cannot accept that a governing body would allow for this sort of heinous activity. As the legislature passes outrageous bills that criminalize women’s healthcare and the existence of transgender individuals, they turn a blind eye to the true danger— guns in schools. 

     When the drill ended, we headed to class. It was just another Thursday, after all. No reason that a theoretical active shooter should disrupt the monotony of the day as we trudged across the school to our next expressions. 

   Oh, and of course, we all rose for the Pledge of Allegiance just an hour later, swearing by a flag that prioritizes the right to bear arms over the lives of millions of innocent children. 


The Calm Before the Storm

Bennet Kutikov ‘24

Special to The Voyager

   After a short 50-foot walk, I entered a bright classroom filled with the sound of the humming air conditioner. Tired and slouched, I took my yellow binder from my bag. I carefully studied my notes in anticipation of a potential pop quiz. 

   I had not had time to study the night before as I was diligently preparing for a major math test. Quickly, I skimmed my two sheets of paper with messy notes from the previous night’s reading. After reading “Jimmy Carter,” the loudspeaker announced the lockdown.

   All of a sudden, a loud commotion erupted outside the calm classroom. My teacher shouted for everyone in the vicinity to enter the closest room. In a frenzy, students piled through the narrow door. Took their seats. After a long 15 seconds, my teacher shut the door. We waited in relative silence for an announcement to provide further information. After five minutes, the loudspeaker said, “The lockdown drill has concluded.” 

   After a few minutes, it was almost as if the drill had never happened.


An Important Math Test

Emel Duman ‘24

Special to The Voyager

  I was rushing towards my math class. I had a test, and I wanted to get there as early as I could, so I could be ready when the bell rings. It was crowded as usual; I can’t even count how many people I bumped into due to my urgency. I had my calculator and pencil in my hand. When I got there, the teacher was already checking calculators and distributing tests. I sat in my spot at the far back of the classroom and showed my cleared calculator to the teacher. She checked it and gave me my test. 

  Maybe a few seconds passed before we all heard it. 

  “A Lockdown has been initiated! Lockdown! A lockdown has been initiated! Lockdown!”

  The teacher immediately closed the door, shut off the lights, and collected everyone else’s tests. Not everyone was in the class yet, and she didn’t want others to have an advantage. 

    Outside, the teachers were yelling at other students to come into their class. In just a few seconds, the loud and colorful hallway turned into a silent and dark place. 

   No one was really scared in my classroom. The stress of the math test was higher. Everyone was worrying about the lost time instead of the lockdown. 

   When the lockdown ended, our teacher announced that she would push the math test to tomorrow. The stress of the test slowly disappeared. The normal loud hallway and the bright lights returned. 

   Now that I am thinking back to it, it’s probably not healthy that we all worry about the test more than our lives. 

My Least Favorite Bathroom

Sonali Kundu ‘24

Special to The Voyager

   From engineering to history, I had the sudden urge to use the bathroom. Therefore, my next destination changed from history to the restroom directly across from the janitor’s closet. This restroom was my favorite as the lighting makes my reflection in the mirror look ten times better. That’s when the pivotal moment occurred— this is no longer “best restroom ever.” As I finished my business on the toilet, the man on the telecom initiated a lockdown. 

   I didn’t know whether to hide— in the stalls or in the open, tiled room. There were already too many girls in my space with more girls entering quickly (the ones stranded in the hallway during “passing time”). One girl bravely took initiative and put her body in front of the door to act as the missing lock. She was senior, but that’s all I can identify. I will be forever grateful for that unknown girl even though it was just a drill. It was a mystery, though, at the time if this was a drill or real. An old classmate was also there… who would have thought we would meet again in a lockdown drill in the girl’s restroom?

   Just then, a girl came out of the bathroom stall and made her way to the exit door. She tried frantically to open the door to leave the bathroom. The girl blocking the door was confused. I was confused. Another girl intervened and asked, “What are you doing?” The girl from the bathroom stall who seemed like she was in a rush looked offended. 

   “Trying to get to class, what else would I be doing?” She said something along the lines of that. 

   “Dude, we’re in the middle of a lockdown,” someone responsible responded. She looked surprised. I mean, is she deaf? Is she serious? Part of me was relieved, though, for some reason, grateful that she was just confused.    \

   I was stuck in the bathroom for about a good six minutes. Yet just like that, the drill was over. 

   This is the end of the story as Mr. Thompson greeted me and asked where I happened to be during this event. I said “the restroom,” and the story began all over again.


It Happens to Us

Jonah Weber ‘24

Special to The Voyager

   7.28  inches, 21.16 oz, fifteen 9mm luger bullets magazine, safety included, ergonomic grip, the effective range of 40 to 50 yards, the epitome of handguns. This is the generation 4 Glock 19, a handgun designed to protect homes and put the fear of the second amendment into non-law-abiding citizens. 

   However, when people get shoved into dark rooms like cattle, kept in the dark like children, and told to wait to die like sheep, there is no love for the epitome of handguns. 

   We hear about stories, we see the news, and we even mourn their deaths. 

   But, it is simply not real. That couldn’t happen to us. 

   We drill in every possible scenario, but it couldn’t happen to us. 

   We hide in dark corners, we text our friends asking if they are ok, and we explain to our parents, but it couldn’t happen to us. 

    On that day of the lockdown, it was the closest it ever came to being real. The layers of doubt, and ignorance suddenly broke down, to the point where I realized it could happen to us. 


I Can’t Imagine

Audrey Whitcraft ‘24

Special to The Voyager

   How would you feel if your whole school went into lockdown in a passing period? 

   Well, this happened to me. 

   I was so scared, yet thankfully, I was with my favorite teacher (who is also my coach). She seemed scared, but she told us to get into the back of the classroom and locked all the doors. I was in a lab classroom, so there were three doors to lock. One reason I was scared was because my class wasn’t really taking it seriously. I am one who started shaking and vigorously texting my mom that we were in a look-down and that I love her. She tells me to, “stay calm” and I try to listen, yet I feel the sweat in my palms trickle all over my body. 

   The people in the room were a mixed bunch— a lot of boys and only a few girls. Boys seem to like to mess around in situations like these because they are immature. I yelled at them to be quiet because I heard a strange noise lingering in the hallways. It scared the life out of me. I felt my heart start beating faster and faster. I hugged my friend, Aaden, just to feel something. I needed to feel something warm and confronting in a moment of stress like this. 

   We live in a sad world; I always know exactly where I would hide in every classroom. We live in a sad world where we are threatened with death just for getting an education. We live in a sad world where kids of all ages are dying just for attending to school. We have lockdown drills to protect us, yet imagine you are in class, and you hear a sudden shot of a gun. What would you do? We all say we would act like robots to do what we are trained to do, yet we have never experienced this. 

    I can’t imagine.


Is This Real Life?

By Aniyah May ’24

Special to The Voyager

   I walked into school that morning thinking about nothing else than going home at 2:15. Now that it is spring, all of the activities I participated in throughout the school year were over. In Fall I cheer and after cheer ends comes theater. In spring, I love the little break that I get, to focus on schoolwork and dance outside of school. 

   That morning, I had Environmental Science first period.  During that period, I took a test. I had decided that I have to study more for future tests because I didn’t want to be lost on the next exam. After Environmental class, I had history next. I always like to take the “scenic route” there, because I feel as though it soothes me before the big headache of a class to come. 

   However, this particular time around, something told me not to take the nice scenic route outside. Plus, it was a bit frigid.Walking through the halls on my way to history, it wasn’t too long before we all heard an administrator’s voice on the loudspeaker.

   “A lockdown has been initiated! Lockdown. A lockdown has been initiated”.

    As per usual I didn’t think that this drill was real, but the fear every time we practiced these drills was very real. What made me uneasy was the fact it was during a passing period. I know drills should be practiced anywhere, but being in an area where school shootings aren’t likely to happen, we only practiced when students were already rallied into classrooms. 

  I saw teachers telling students to come into their classrooms. Some students were messing around. That’s when teachers started yelling.

   “GET IN A CLASSROOM! NOW!”, they all said. 

   Even our principal, Dr. Tull started screaming at students. That’s when my heart rate started climbing more rapidly. I went into Mrs. Pederson’s art room. It was already packed. I quickly went to the back corner of the room. Once Mrs. Pederson reached full capacity, she locked her door and pulled the shade that covers the door window down. 

   There must have been at least 40 or more students in the room. We were all quiet for a while, but then some talking began. I was thinking, “Why are they talking? Do they not care (drill or not) that we were in the middle of a lockdown?” 

   Personally, I take drills seriously, pretending that they are the real thing. One of my biggest fears is a school shooting. My mind was racing with all sorts of thoughts, like if I should text my mom or how severe this whole thing is. 

   I thought, “Is this real life?” Unfortunately, it is as a high schooler in America. 

    A few minutes later, the drill ended. Just like that it was over. I felt relief fall over me. If that was real, lives could have been jeopardized because of the students talking during the drill.  It’s sad that we have to practice things like this, but it’s better to be prepared than sorry. 

   I personally applaud Eastern for taking the extra step in practicing drills during passing periods. I feel as though there could be more done and extra precautions, but it is a step forward. All schools should focus on taking further precautions to help prepare students for the worst possible situations. 


An Extra Study Hall

Jenna Slater ‘24

Special to The Voyager 

   I was walking in the hallway with my headphones on and didn’t realize much until the flashing lights made me pause my music and look at my friend who was walking with me. We were both so confused by the timing of what was assumedly a drill. Realizing how far we were from our actual class, we hurried into the nearest room. We entered a health room near gym three with almost 40 other kids. Everyone was still talking as one would in the hallways, almost unfazed by the weird situation. 

   When we tried to close the doors, we noticed we hadn’t been able to lock them. There were kids moving podiums in front of the door handle for security, along with two boys just holding one of the doors shut. Everyone was talking loudly and in the corner with a few friends, I just went back to reading the notes for a quiz I forgot to study for. I used my headphones to block out all the talking so I could focus on reading about Civil Rights. 

   Looking back, almost everyone in the room handled the situation as if it was a drill with no danger involved. Some even viewed it as just a “saving grace” so we get 10 minutes less of class. Even I handled it very nonchalantly, worrying more about my history grade dropping than the possible danger of a real lockdown. I was just thankful I had more time to study.