Full Interview with Joey Mondelli


Emma Luis, News Editor


I think a good place to start would be your experience on the day of the shooting, what was going through your mind that day at school?

That day was just a normal day in the morning, it was Valentines Day, so I had planned on taking my girlfriend out on a date later that day. Up until the fire alarm went off, I was stress free. When the fire alarm went off, I had just assumed it was a normal fire drill, although I found it weird that it was so late in the day. Even when I heard shots, I didn’t even think it was real, until I got a text saying “someone in my class just got shot.”

I can’t imagine what that must have been like. Were you in class at the time?

Well I actually was out at the bathroom literally a minute before the fire alarm went off, which is while shots were being fired, but I had ear buds in so I didn’t hear any shots at the time. But as soon as I got back to class the fire alarm went off

How did your classroom react? Did you go to evacuate or remain in the classroom?

Well we actually didn’t hear shots until we had left our classroom to go to our assigned position for the fire drill. When we were outside the classroom, faculty was screaming to get back into our classes, and as I turned around to go back to class, I heard about 5 shots go off. My classroom actually got split up and ended up in 2 classrooms, but the people that I was with all thought it was an active shooter drill because we had been having rumors we were gonna have a drill soon. We didn’t realize it was real until we started getting texts from people who were actually in the freshman building.

You mentioned you had earbuds in, do you remember what song you were listening to?

No I don’t, that span of 5-10 minutes is all kind of blurry.

I can imagine.How do you feel about the media coverage? All of a sudden your school is in the spotlight, how did that affect your transition back to school?

I feel like it’s a mix between good and bad. The good side being that we are now able to get out our message of change and something better will come out of this for our future. But on the other hand it was very annoying walking in and out of school with cameras being shoved in our faces when we first got back to school

In class, did you just jump right back to where you had left off? Do you think that MSD is handling the transition and support well?

No we didn’t, we still aren’t doing much in any of my classes, and I imagine we won’t do much for the rest of the year. We love the support everyone gives us, and it all really helps us get through the transition of getting back to learning.

What kinds of things have you been doing in your classes?

In my classes we’ve been doing really easy work recently, but the first couple weeks of being back all we did was sit around doing coloring books, playing card games, and watching movies.

Do you have any plans right now for after high school?

I’m not going to let this affect my learning and school attendance. I’ll be attending Florida Atlantic University this summer after I graduate, and I’ll be transferring to the University of Central Florida after my freshman year is over.

Wow congratulations! Do you have any idea of what you are planning to study in college?

Thank you. I’m planning on majoring in management, and I would eventually like to open my own business of some sort. But I haven’t gotten that far into the future yet.

That’s great. I just saw your recent tweet about your purple north face backpack, How do you feel about the new clear backpacks? Do you think that these types of changes at MSD are necessary?

I hate the new rule. I think it is one of the most ridiculous changes they could have implemented, and my whole school feels that same way. I think this type of change is like trying to put a bandage on a broken bone

I saw that you went to the March for Our Lives! What was your experience there?

Yes I did, and I’m so glad I went. It was simply amazing. All the support America is giving us is insane and it’s literally like a dream to me still. Seeing so many people was so heart warming knowing they all stand behind us on our path to making our futures better.The speakers were all great as well, it was especially moving seeing people who don’t go to douglas but were affected by gun violence also.

I also saw on your twitter feed that you had also lost a really close friend. If you are comfortable, what has that been like especially when returning back to school?

Yes, his name is Joaquin. Him and I weren’t the closest of friends, but I like to think we had a special bond. Hugging every time we saw each other in the hallways and talking whenever I saw him. It’s been really hard not seeing him walk by me in the hallways or him not coming into my PE class anymore. I still can’t even believe he’s passed.

I’m so sorry, I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.

It’s still terrible.

What do you think is the next step going forward in terms of returning back to “normal” as a community/what other people can do to help support your community?

I think we can never truly return back to a “normal” community. Parkland will still be the same old close knit, loving community that we’ve always been, but as far as moving on from such an atrocity; that is simply impossible. Everyone in Parkland has been affected by what occurred, and nobody will ever forget it, no matter who else in the world forgets. We will continue to spread love and joy, but will never fully move on. As far as other people helping out our community, there is nothing they can physically do for us besides going out and voting. Voting out and politician who does not want to bring about the change that we as students, teachers, parents, and a nation as a whole are asking for.