Student’s death encourages school unity

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By Cassie Dugan
<cdugan@hilite.org>

I never thought I would write an obituary. But there I sat, 1:30 a.m. on June 9, 2009, doing just that. Life taught me a thing or two that early morning. Among my feverish search for accurate information about Lilly Martyn’s tragic death, I watched post after post appear on Facebook. They all read: “R.I.P. Lilly” and “Heaven just got a little brighter.”

I decided to look at Lilly’s profile and was greeted by well over 200 wall posts. Memories, inside jokes, personal poems and old photographs flooded the page of the lost Greyhound. What pulled on my heartstrings, though, was how many of the posts began with “Lilly, we didn’t really know each other that well, but…”

It is incredible how many people cared, without having ever so much as spoken a word to Lilly. What I’m saying is, it’s amazing the amount of unity and love that results from a terrible incident like this.  This school has experienced eight deaths over the past two years. For my class, this year’s juniors, that is eight deaths in our high school career entirely, three of which came from our own class. And we’re only half way through high school. However, I feel like my class is becoming stronger. We’re already dealing with issues that some don’t face until adulthood.

But the best thing is, we’re doing it together. We are holding on tight and combating each issue together. With each death or tragedy we stumble upon, unity and a sense of strength always yield. Upon Lilly’s death, I’m sure not only shock but remorse filled us all regardless of how well we knew her. She was a great person; I know first-hand. Every time I visit or drive past her memorial near the entrance of Central Park, mourning people can always be spotted.

Seldom have I not seen a person there touching the flowers, reading the notes of memory and crying over her loss. But seldom have I seen anyone at that fateful location alone. There’s always someone to wipe the tears and distribute the hugs. And that is exactly what she would want. Now, who knows how many the class of 2011 will have lost by the time our graduation arrives, but what I do know that we won’t graduate as the students or the graduates of 2011, but rather as the Class of 2011. The class that made it through with a smile still intact.

Cassie Dugan is a reporter for the HiLite.

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