1. News
  2. /
  3. Education

Orlando student releases music video to honor Parkland victims

“We’re the future, we’re the kids,” the lyrics say. “We still got long lives to live.”
Orlando high school student Yomar Fontanez is shown rapping in a music video he released Wednesday to commemorate the victims of the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. [YouTube]
Orlando high school student Yomar Fontanez is shown rapping in a music video he released Wednesday to commemorate the victims of the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. [YouTube]
Published Feb. 12
Updated Feb. 12

A high school student from Orlando released a music video Wednesday to commemorate victims of the shooting at South Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School two years ago Friday.

In the three-minute video, titled Change, 17-year-old Yomar Fontanez wears a red Hollister hoodie and raps beneath stage lights about the lives lost at the Parkland school. “We can’t let nobody just end our lives like this,” he sings. "Fighting for this change and we’re never gonna quit.”

Fontanez wrote the song weeks after the Parkland shooting, said Nathan Smith, who is now his debate teacher at Cornerstone Charter Academy in Orange County. Smith, 33, started at the school the day of the shooting, meeting Fontanez in language arts class.

“He was just incredibly thoughtful" about the shooting, Smith recalled. “He felt like he needed to speak about it."

Fontanez soon brought some lyrics to Smith, who is a rapper himself and produces music videos with his students related to reading and writing. The teacher was “blown away by the depth” of his student’s words, he said, and helped him record and edit Change.

Orlando high school student Yomar Fontanez, center, is shown rapping with his classmates and teacher Nathan Smith, back left, during a recording of one of Smith's educational music videos. [Nathan Smith]

At one point in the song, Fontanez says he doesn’t blame school shootings on any one person or circumstance but on a “multitude of things that really need to change.” He says things have only worsened since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

“School’s a place for learning, not for hurting,” he says. “I gotta bring a change to get these guns up out of schools."

Fontanez criticizes the FBI, accused of failing to fully investigate tips it had received beforehand about the Parkland shooter. “Ain’t the FBI supposed to be like our second set of eyes? But yet when something happen they can’t help with the warning signs."

He also calls out President Donald Trump for his stance on arming Florida teachers: “Trump being dumb, trying to give teachers guns. I swear sometimes I feel like they’re just making these laws for fun.”

The song also offers condolences to the parents of Parkland victims, saying it “could have easily been my mom or me.” Then Fontanez salutes the teachers who died trying to protect students that day.

“I don’t want to go to school worrying about my safety,” he sings. "But everything that’s happened, that’s just been the case lately.”

The video ends with a frame that reads, “Inspired and dedicated to those taken from us Feb. 14, 2018.”

Related: Grand jury scolds Florida school districts, says they’re breaking post-Parkland laws

Before releasing his video online, Fontanez showed it to his debate class Wednesday. His peers were overwhelmed by the message, said Smith, the teacher.

Since Parkland, Florida kids have been forced to face the reality of violence on school campuses, he added, and they can identify with the stress Fontanez raps about in the song.

“It is an anthem for his generation,” Smith said. “He is that voice and he embodies that for the people around him by putting those feelings into words.”

Fontanez could not immediately be reached for comment.


  1. AMIkids in Pinellas Park has been shut down after two staffers were arrested in connection with the injury and neglect of a 12-year-old student.
  2. First Lady Casey DeSantis talks with students during the Hope for Healing a mental and substance abuse initiative held Roland Park K-8 School in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said state officials worked closely with DeSantis to craft the new rule. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
  3. Pinellas County School Board member Carol Cook, left, celebrates her reelection to her fifth term in 2016. If ultimately approved, a term limits proposal would force Florida's school board members out after two consecutive terms.
  4. Chicken and vegetable dumplings with soy sauce were offered to students to test during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste-testing, Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Pinellas Technical College. Twenty-eight new food items were tested and rated.  Some will be added to next year's school menus.
  5. Jarvis Delon West was arrested for child neglect after failing to report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police
  6. Patrick Suiters, 10, left, and Gabriel Stanford, 9, both fourth-graders at San Jose Elementary School in Dunedin, fill out a survey after tasting falafel tots and nuggets during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste test at Pinellas Technical College. About 120 students tasted and rated 28 new food items that could be added to school breakfast and lunch menus next year.
  7. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  8. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  9. The attendance zones for Northwest, Gulf Highlands and Fox Hollow elementary schools would shift under a proposed rezoning that also includes the closing of Hudson Elementary.
  10. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  11. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.
  12. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)