Adrian De Guzman

Seminole mourns the loss of life at the Pulse memorial in Orlando.

Adrian De Guzman, Junior Editor-in-Chief

Last summer, on June 12, 2016, a horrible tragedy occurred during the early hours of the morning: 49 people lost their lives at the hands of the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States, including Seminole alumni Luis Vielma.

The nation was shocked to learn that from 2 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. a shooter attacked the Pulse bar and nightclub. Almost 100 people were injured or killed, though many more were deeply affected because of their relation to victims.

“The fact [that] one of my friends could have been the victim is horrible,” says member of Seminole’s Gay Straight Alliance Bella Lavoie. “It was one of the most deadly shootings in American history. To think that it was targeting the LGBT community is very heartbreaking and painful to hear. It could have been one of my friends in the next couple of years.”

Vielma was at the bar with family friend Laura, where he intended to simply dance and have a fun night out with his friend. He was among 49 fatalities in the shooting, but his death hit closest to home for the students of Seminole.

Although Vielma graduated five years ago in the class of 2011, he still maintained bonds with some of the student body through a program at All Souls Catholic Church called D.A.W.G. (Disciples Always Watching God). His youngest sibling, Kimberly Vielma, began attending Seminole High School last year as part of the class of 2019  .

Vielma worked at Universal Orlando as an attraction operator for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” The entire world took to social media to honor his memory, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

Rowling sent out a tweet honoring Vielma, saying, “Luis Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. He was 22 years old. I can’t stop crying. #Orlando

In addition to this, the ride he operated was closed to honor Vielma the day of the shooting.

The Seminole High School community mourns all the lives that were lost during the senseless tragedy of the Pulse shooting. This tragic event has only brought the community closer together, as they continue to keep Vielma and the other victims in memory. 

Dr. Connie Collins says, “To lose someone is always sad, but to lose someone in such a senseless way is doubly hurtful. I think I represent the Seminole High School community in that we are appalled at this kind of tragedy, this kind of senseless shooting, and taking of innocent lives.”

Seminole stands #OrlandoStrong for Vielma and all of the other victims of the Pulse shooting.