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Antigo Strong: Northland Pines students wear maroon to support Northwoods neighborsSubmitted: 05/04/2016

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EAGLE RIVER - With her hands folded and head bowed, Northland Pines Senior Class President Sam Hytry stood humbled and empowered Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm praying for Antigo and everyone else that's involved," Hytry said.

Hytry shared those prayers during the school day through a smartphone.

"We sent out an email yesterday and we also used social media like Twitter and Facebook to kind of get the word out too," Hytry said.

The word was actually two, combined in a hashtag: "#AntigoStrong."


Last week, D.C. Everest students encouraged districts everywhere to wear maroon and white May 4 in support of Antigo after the prom-night shooting. Former student Jakob Wagner shot two prom-goers before police shot and killed him April 23.

At Pines Wendesday, at lunch or in class, it was easy for student council members to find kids who were showing support.

"Even just dress-up days that are fun for our school we don't have this amount of kids doing it," junior Shelby Foster said. "And for something so on the spot and something that means so much, for this amount of kids to show that they care in this little way, it's a big deal."

That big deal wasn't limited to only Northland Pines. Photos from people across the state filled social media, from Rhinelander to Prentice, Tomahawk and Crandon in the Northwoods to Stevens Point and even the Horicon School District near Beaver Dam. The Antigo fire and police departments showed their pride via social media too.

"Really good, really good, feeling the love," Pines Assistant Librarian Stephanie Grassl said.

That message hits home, literally, for Grassl. The librarian graduated from Antigo High in 1999. Wednesday, she wore an Antigo tennis warm-up jacket.

"You might be from a different school, but you're relatable," Grassl said of the Antigo Strong campaign. "You're all taking the same math classes, you're all in the same stresses.... Pines students are just awesome when it comes to supporting other people and stuff. [Seeing so many students dress in maroon] does not come as a surprise to me."

Pines students estimate that about 70 percent of the school's 411 students donned Antigo colors. Sam Hytry knows it's a simple gesture with deep meaning.

"They would do the same for us," Hytry said. "Even though we are all across the state, it's really something we promise each other that we're going to be there."

Standing for each other, standing Antigo Strong.

Story By: Lane Kimble

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