Four days after a classmate opened fire in their school, students of Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, Maryland, will participate in the March for Our Lives.
A couple of hundred students and alumni plan to go to D.C. on Saturday for the demonstration on the National Mall, recent graduate Newell Rand told News4.
"What needs to be brought about is awareness to school shootings and obviously gun violence," he said.
The students are organizing on Facebook to participate in the demonstration, which is expected to draw thousands of young people from across the country.
Their classmate Austin Wyatt Rollins, 17, opened fire in a hallway of the school just moments before classes were set to start Tuesday, authorities said. Rollins died, and two people were shot: a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. The family of the girl identified her as Jaelynn Willey. She is critically wounded. The boy was released from a hospital on Wednesday.
Rand knew Rollins and said he can hardly believe what happened.
"It was kind of just surreal," he said.
"He wasn't this malicious person that came out yesterday. It just wasn't the same Austin we all knew," Rand continued.
A former coach at the school, Aaron Foreman, was rallying support to get students to the march. Foreman posted a video to Facebook on Wednesday calling for donations so students could attend.
Foreman said in an interview that churches have donated vans, stores have given food and gift cards, and others offered to buy Metro cards.
His daughter graduated from Great Mills last year. "This could've been her," he said.
On Facebook, more than 100 Great Mills High students said they were interested in going to the march.
"On Saturday we march with a purpose - to represent our hornet nation and spread awareness of gun violence. That's it," the page says. "We march with the acknowledgement that there are many ways to move forward, whether it be gun reform, actions pertaining to mental illness, establishment of stronger bonds within families and communities, or a combination of all three. We are not limited to any set way to move forward nor do we encourage any specific action. Something has to be done, and that is the only message we have to offer."
Days before the shooting, students walked out of class to protest gun violence in schools.