Mad props to these kids who were the only ones in their school to 'walk out.'

Standing with a crowd is easy. Standing alone takes courage.

On March 14, the whole country watched as students across the U.S. walked out of their schools in protest of school shootings and the government's inaction on gun control.

We watched videos of scores of students filling streets and football fields, carrying protest signs, and standing in solidarity with one another.


Image via Saul Loeb/Getty Images.

But the walkout was not universally embraced. Some kids walked out of their schools and found themselves alone.

Like thousands of students, Justin Blackman of Wilson Preparatory Academy in Wilson, North Carolina, walked out of his Spanish class at 10:00 a.m. on March 14. But he soon discovered that he was the only person out of approximately 700 students at the school to do so.

He shared a video on Twitter, saying, ""It's National Walkout Day. I'm the only one from my school out here."

Blackman stood outside the school for 17 minutes — one minute for each of the victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting — and then went back inside. He wasn't sure if he'd be in trouble with his teacher or school administrators, but no one made a fuss. One person even congratulated him.

Twitter, however, went wild over his story, and his video has been retweeted more than 60,000 times.

This Twitter exchange between Blackman and a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the most recent mass school shooting, is particularly inspiring:

Screenshot via Twitter

I think the kids are going to be alright.

But not all school administrators were supportive of the walkouts. In fact, some actively tried to squash the protests.

Blackman was not the only lone walker to gain the media's attention. Rosa Rodriguez of Sayreville, New Jersey, didn't see any other students when she walked outside her high school building. As it turns out, she wasn't as alone as she thought — a handful of others students protested in other parts of campus.

But unlike Blackman, students at Sayreville were warned of disciplinary action if they left class.

Rodriguez says she was willing to take the risk to protest school gun violence, telling ABC News, "I want to show I care about it, so I want to do something about it."

According to MyCentralJersey.com, another Sayreville student was told that those who walked out would receive two days of out-of-school suspension, despite the district's code of conduct only calling for a Saturday detention for leaving campus "without authorization."

(Just so we're clear here, the school didn't want students to leave school for 20 minutes for a highly organized nationwide demonstration, so they are forcing them to leave school for two days. Makes perfect sense.)

Teens weren't the only young people who participated solo in the National School Walkout.  

Leonardo Aguilar is a second grader at Trace Elementary School in San Jose, California. Accompanied by his mom and donning a "Guns Are Cruel, Not Cool" sign he made, Aguilar joined the protest down the street at Lincoln High School on March 14.

He was the only kid from his school to participate in the walkout.

Reporter Len Ramirez shared a photo of Aguilar standing with his sign on Twitter:

When Ramirez asked the 8-year-old about being at the protest, he replied,  “I’m protesting for the Florida shooting ... I made a poster — as you can see."

When asked why he felt so strongly, the second grader said, “Because guns are not safe and people get hurt. And teenagers shouldn’t bring guns to school.”  

When asked if he feels safe at school, his response was a simple "No."

Kids are sick of living in fear of gun violence in schools — and in the United States at large.

School shootings affect American kids of all ages, who now spend their childhoods in regular lockdowns and active shooter drills. We live in a surreal era when a second grader has to explain that guns have no place in schools, while legislators talk about handing guns to teachers.

It's awesome that so many students banded together in their schools and walked out together in solidarity. I'm impressed with the way so many young people are organizing themselves and pressuring lawmakers to get out of their comfy chairs and do something about gun violence.

But these kids? The ones who stood up and walked out without their peers behind or beside them? They give me all the feels. This is what strength looks like. This is what bravery looks like.

The kids are coming, America. And they're coming armed with courage and conviction, which is a whole lot more powerful than guns.  

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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