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Oxford school mass shooting survivor Ava Swiss wows Simon Cowell and judges on America's Got Talent


An Oxford school shooting survivor wowed the America’s Got Talent judges with her rendition of Remember and tells the judges that ‘love is stronger than hate.’

Ava Swieczkowski – who goes by Ava Swiss on stage – 18, of Michigan, revealed to the judges that it had been hard coping after tragically losing four fellow high school students after a mass shooting in November 2021 at Oxford High School.

‘I remember my brother and I were talking to each other and we were like there is no way we were ever stepping foot back in the school, but we have actually been in-person in school for about two months now, so, things are getting better,’ Ava said. 

Shooting survivor: The 18-year-old singer from Oxford, Michigan, revealed to the judges that it had been hard coping after tragically losing four fellow high school students after a mass shooting in November 2021 at Oxford High School

Shooting survivor: The 18-year-old singer from Oxford, Michigan, revealed to the judges that it had been hard coping after tragically losing four fellow high school students after a mass shooting in November 2021 at Oxford High School

Memorable audition: Simon Cowell said he would never forget the audition of school shooting survivor Ava Swiss on Tuesday's episode of America's Got Talent on NBC

Memorable audition: Simon Cowell said he would never forget the audition of school shooting survivor Ava Swiss on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent on NBC

Ava picked the song Remember by Lauren Daigle for her audition to inspire others to remember the good after the school shooting.

‘I chose the song because back on November 30th my brother and I were a part of the Oxford school shooting,’ Ava said. ‘We lost four of our students, and seven others were injured, one of which was a teacher.’

‘When I sing it, I remember the good,’ Ava said. ‘I remember my community, my family, just the love.’

The audience gave her a standing ovation when she finished.

Inspiring song: Ava picked the song Remember by Lauren Daigle for her audition to inspire others to remember the good after the school shooting

Inspiring song: Ava picked the song Remember by Lauren Daigle for her audition to inspire others to remember the good after the school shooting

Standing ovation: The audience gave her a standing ovation when she finished

Standing ovation: The audience gave her a standing ovation when she finished

‘Wow,’ said judge and franchise creator Simon Cowell, 62. ‘I think you are gutsy. I really, really do. 

‘For me this is one of those auditions that I’ll never forget. I really have so much respect for you. And on top of that, you’ve got a great voice. You are somebody that I am so happy to have met. I mean, that’s the one thing over the years on this show. We’ve just met the most extraordinary people.’

Howie Mandel, 66, also praised the young singer, saying: ‘In life it’s tough to show up especially after going through incredible trauma. The fact that you can break through that and shine the way you did today is so inspirational for every human being.’

‘You took my breath away,’ Sofia Vergara, 50, told Ava.

High praise: 'Wow,' said judge and franchise creator Simon, 62. 'I think you are gutsy. I really, really do. For me this is one of those auditions that I'll never forget. I really have so much respect for you. And on top of that, you've got a great voice'

High praise: ‘Wow,’ said judge and franchise creator Simon, 62. ‘I think you are gutsy. I really, really do. For me this is one of those auditions that I’ll never forget. I really have so much respect for you. And on top of that, you’ve got a great voice’

Yes votes: Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon voted yes and Ava advanced

Yes votes: Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon voted yes and Ava advanced

Breath taken: 'You took my breath away,' Sofia Vergara, 50, told Ava

Breath taken: ‘You took my breath away,’ Sofia Vergara, 50, told Ava

All the judges voted her on, with Cowell giving her ‘4,000-and-a-half yeses.’ 

Before her audition, an advisory was displayed that read ‘the next audition was recorded prior to the recent string of tragic mass shootings across the country. Our hearts go out to all of the families and everyone impacted by gun violence.’

Recently, the US has been plagued with a swarm of gun violence and mass shootings, including the Highland Park and Uvalde shootings that shook the nation. 

So far this year, almost 1,000 children, ages 0-17, have died from gun violence and there has been a total of 371 mass shootings – which is defined as four people or more injured or killed – in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive.  

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