Phrases like "don't rush to get grown" and "enjoy your younger years because they are the best years of your life" are all you hear in high school. Although there is truth to these clichés, they seem like the farthest thing from true while you are experiencing some of the worst, never-ending-days of your life. Sometimes, high school is... well - just tragic.
(Content has been edited for clarity).
A Wonderful Man
“Arguably the most popular teacher in our school – for his boundless love of his students and incredible mentorship – committed suicide the year after I graduated. We found out he had been struggling with addiction and depression for most of his life, which blew us all away. I’m well-acquainted with the deceptions of depression now, but at the time it rocked my very foundation.
This was the teacher who had students flocking to his classroom almost every lunch break just to hang out with him because he was so awesome and caring. We’d rather be there than at Quiznos or wherever. He played card games with us, discussed literature/film, and we all shared stories. He would play guitar and jam out with other student musicians. He brought me flowers when I was lead in a school play once. I’ll always be heartbroken over the world’s loss of this wonderful man.”
Wrong Place At The Wrong Time
“We had a nice kid stabbed in the abdomen for wearing blue in a blood neighborhood. He wasn’t a gang member, just someone wearing the wrong color.
The blade hit his appendix, which was already infected, and it burst. He survived and, honestly, I think he became motivated by the whole thing.
Still scary and sad though.”
None Of This Is Okay
“I’m from a small town, but sadly there are a few tragic stories.
One kid shot himself on the only main road connecting the two towns that made our high school. It wasn’t a surprise, but still hit a lot of people hard.
Another guy who my sister was dating thought it would be a good idea to drive under the influence and flipped his truck. The bar that overserved him was shut down for serving a minor.
One guy was distraught about his ex-dating someone else, so he found them in my buddy’s field where she worked and killed both of them.
In elementary school, there was a first-grade girl who was being babysat by her sister and her sister’s boyfriend. They were playing Mortal Kombat and decided to test out some of the moves on the little girl and accidentally killed her. They tried to cover it up by shoving an egg down her throat to make it look like she choked. It was a terrifying time in our community. I was pretty young, so I didn’t understand how bad it was until thinking about it years later. I walked by that house every day for school, and it just gives you a sick feeling in your stomach. Every time.”
Distraught With Grief
“A girl in my class got shot and killed in a substance deal gone wrong. Everyone was mourning and whatnot but her older sister took it the worst. Her older sister was always one of those super optimistic, happy-go-lucky people who seemed to be good at everything she did and never let anything bring her down. She didn’t show up to school for a few days and while she wasn’t the most popular of people, a good amount of students noticed she was gone. I knew her sister in a shallow way so I asked another senior where she had been and he told me he wasn’t sure but rumor had it her parents found needles in her room and she was being sent to rehab. It came to light later that yes, she had needles in her room but not for continuous use. She was apparently so distraught with grief from her sister getting shot that she killed herself by over-dosing. How did she get the stuff? The same supplier who supplied the dealer that shot her sister.”
Baby Daddy Drama
“A girl was murdered. They did an episode on Snapped about her. It was super sad because she went missing and was a super popular senior. Her sister was in my class, and I knew of her sister. We all wore ribbons and spread posters around. After a few months, her body was seen in the weird area behind our track field and the building she walked to for vocational training. A family friend ambushed her and stabbed her, burying her in a shallow grave where snow eventually hid her until our first thaw.
It was a few years after that the DNA confirmed the killer’s identity. It was a result of baby daddy drama. Apparently, the stabbed girl was talking to the stabber’s baby daddy. The stabber didn’t like that.”
‘I Promise Mom And Dad’
“When I was a sophomore in college, a student burned herself alive by the track. Apparently, her last status update was, ‘When there’s nothing left to burn, set yourself on fire.’ She suffered second and third-degree burns to a large percentage of her body, and she died within a day or so of being admitted to the hospital.
I suffer from depression and have been suicidal more times than I can count. But the day I heard about what this girl did to herself, I called my parents and promised them that this wouldn’t happen to them.
Another incident occurred the semester before my freshman year, some jerk had been stalking a student since they had taken a summer class together, and he walked into the cafe where she was working and shot her point blank. Apparently, the campus went into full lockdown for at least a day until it was confirmed that this was an isolated incident. Since she was so passionate about universal health care, her friends and members of the school community raised funds to set up a pediatric clinic in a Kenyan slum in her name.”
Sad To See
“I went to a fairly large high school (3,000 students), so the odds of a tragedy were much higher. Freshman year, I remember two seniors who were best friends died in a car accident one weekend. The following Monday was incredibly somber on campus. About a year later, a kid committed suicide due to bullying. The high school yearbook wound up running one of his poems, and it showed that he was suicidal and begging for help. Then there was the time a kid fell out of the back of a pickup truck while his friend drove too fast out of the school’s parking lot and he had to use a wheelchair and a walker the remainder of his time there. All of his friends seemed to abandon him once he was handicapped – it was sad to see. There was also two back-to-back automobile accidents just days after graduation. I remember seeing those as obits in the local paper during summer vacation.”
The Beloved Foreign Language Teacher
“Our school had a beloved teacher in our foreign language department. She was like a second mother to many students and was a good friend of my family. My sister has a learning disability and was taking her class at the time. The teacher was understanding and did everything she could to help my sister do well, even outside of her class. Her husband was a coach and their kids were, of course, going to our school, so their family was well-known and well-liked in the community.
They were all involved in a serious car crash. Someone tried to pass a large truck and failed to check for oncoming traffic. Their car was hit head-on. The teacher and her husband were killed. One of their two kids ended up in the ICU for a long time. The other had minor to moderate injuries. The people in the other car died.
Our school and community were devastated. My sister developed driving anxiety due to the incident and couldn’t get her drivers license until she was 21.
It was all such an awful thing.”
Hatred For Happy People
“There was a nice guy, he was friendly and a good student. His friend, someone he trusted, crept into his house one night undetected. Walked upstairs, murdered the guy’s parents in their sleep with a knife and then murdered him after a struggle. The sister heard the noise and was able to flee to a neighbor and call 911. Pennsylvania state troopers went on a manhunt with bloodhounds. The dude’s dad eventually turned him in after he had confessed. The sister was the sole surviving family member. The only motive the police could find was something the murderer wrote, that he hated happy people.
The whole thing was messed up and still is. The murderer ended up killing himself in prison a year or two ago after multiple state Supreme Court rulings denied his petition to reduce the three life sentences he was serving.”
‘No One Else Knew But Me’
“This other kid and I were in the closet. We both knew because we saw each other cross-dressed at a comic book convention. But nobody else knew for sure.
In his case, he was more bi than gay and could play the straight guy role well. I was more effeminate and people suspected plus people knew I cross-played. Then I was outed/came out. So we never hung out because he had to keep up appearances but we chatted on instant messaging about relevant stuff cause he had nobody else.
Anyway, long story short nerd stuff got a lot more popular in the mid-2000s, and someone saw his cross-play at a convention. Then they made fun of him on Myspace. He hanged himself before school even started.
A lot of kids who led the charge crying at his funeral. His mom and dad were chatting people up on his instant messaging trying to find out ‘what happened.’ It was pretty awful.
Shout Out To The Optimistic People Of The World
“When I was a freshman in high school, a girl in the grade above me was diagnosed with cancer (I can’t remember what type of cancer it was), but anyway, it got really bad and things weren’t looking good. She had a younger sister in my grade, and the two of us became each other’s closest friends. Around the end of my sophomore year, she went into remission and eventually got all of her hair back and everyone was relieved. Sadly, a little bit of her senior year (my junior year) they went in for one of her scheduled scans and they found out that she was diagnosed with leukemia. Now, her younger sister and I are close to graduating from high school, and although she had missed her commencement and the first year of college, she recently went into remission AGAIN about a month ago. Over the summer, her sister whom I’m very close with even had to give her a bone marrow transplant, which went very well. Seriously, these two girls are some of the kindest, strongest, and most optimistic people I have ever met.
Side note: I’m taking her to prom this year since she missed her own. She and her sister are going be roommates next year in college.”
A Pipe Bomb
“When I was in the 10th grade, a kid in my grade brought a pipe bomb to school. He told people and the police were called, it was not detonated in the school but we were evacuated and knew what had happened. Eight or nine years after graduating he died of an overdose.
Since we’ve graduated overdoses have plagued the area. It has probably killed 25-percent of our class by our 25-year reunion, though I have no idea the actual numbers.”
Also, the year after I left a wonderful senior girl died in a car accident being driven home from school. Her best friend, the driver, survived.”
Depression Is Often An Unnoticed Illness
“We had this star student. He was an academic, the quarterback, a total stud with the ladies. He was respectful to everybody and cared about everyone he met. He had a good home life and a great future ahead of him. Nobody knew he was depressed and I didn’t know him that well but the news of what happened hit me like a ton of bricks.
He was a senior, getting ready to graduate as valedictorian, and he jumped from a 15-story car park in downtown St. Louis. We went to a small private high school of approximately 200 students and we all just sat in the gym listening to the teacher tell us what happened. Some of us already knew, but most of us were told then. It was gut-wrenching listening to the gasps and cries of people who knew him for so long. We miss you Dupe.”
Never To Return
“I wanted to ask this girl out, and I convinced myself one Friday to do it, no matter what. She was cute and had curly, red hair, and I was crushing kind of hard. There was a surprise quiz in the class I had with her that Friday. Usually, everyone finished up their quizzes early, and then afterward, the class just got to chit chat. I was excited because I was going to take the opportunity to either talk to her directly or ask a mutual friend about her and see if she could hook us up.
A few people took the entire class to take the quiz (which was rare), and there was no opportunity to talk to her. ‘No problem’ I thought…’I’ll just try again on Monday.’
When I came to school on Monday, a lot of people were crying, and I had no idea why. Later on that hour, there was an announcement made. The girl I was going to ask out was driving to school going northbound, and one of our most well-known teachers was driving south at the time. The girl I wanted to ask out took a curve too sharp and hit the teacher’s car head-on. He was killed, and the other two girls in her car were severely injured, including the girl I wanted to ask out.
She was driving, and everyone hated her for killing that teacher. She never came back to that school.”
“When lunch was shut down early, and canned drinks were banned because of the great lunch battle between the Asians (and friends) and the death metal kids.
The death metal kids owed a small Asian by the name of ‘T-Money’ some devil’s grass money.
T-Money went to collect his debts, and the death metal kids closed in on him.
These death metal kids were a collection of about 20 awkward big guys with the cut fingertip gloves and all. I assumed they thought they could punk T-Money.
They started shoving T-Money like a ping pong ball, then a great wall of thug Asians stormed in, and the ping-pong session erupted into a massive brawl.
This is when it got fun. One of the death metal kids ended up throwing a can of some drink and cracks someone right in the face. This person ends up being a bystander and a popular athlete. Then his whole lunch squad decided to reinforce their fallen leader and by de facto, T-Money.
By the time the death metal kids realized that they were getting beat it was too late. They started dropping like flies.
It ended being like a 30 person battle royal. By the time everything was broken up, like 15 kids where in supervision and a few were sent to the hospital for their battle wounds. The popular kid ended up with a fractured nose and a black eye.
The school threatened to take away activities if people didn’t give names but no one gave in, so they just banned all canned drinks. Which led to the Asian kids hustling 12 packs of soda for like two months until they gave back the can privileges.
My friends and I were inclined to help out death metal kids because one of them was on our football team but decided to just throw things at the mob of people instead.”
Be Cautious Around Cars
“About six years ago, a girl and a few of her friends were heading to our town’s festival in the evening, around 8 p.m. When they were walking in front of the school, a car came speeding down the road and hit them. One girl died in front of the school, and they never found out who did it.
Another (although I believe she was in middle school) happened on the same street. It was New Year’s Eve, late at night, and a group of kids was crossing the street. One of them dropped their phone on the crosswalk. One of the girls ran back onto the road to get her friend’s phone when she got hit by a van and died.”
Peace Of Mind
“A girl in my year (but not my school) started coming to my youth group. After a few weeks, she confided in us and told us she had a lot of mental health issues, was on many medications, had numerous suicide attempts in her past and was just struggling with life in general. It slowly came out that she had been physically abused by her uncle for years and he had messed her up so much she was just a shell of a person.
Our youth group didn’t meet over school holidays, so we had a two-week break where we didn’t see her. I remember so clearly the Sunday night my mom picked me up from my part-time job to take me to youth group. She told me that my friend had attempted suicide earlier in the week. She had been found by her parents but by the time they had her stomach pumped she was already brain dead. They had turned her life support off that morning.
It was brutal. She had been bullied so much by the jerk girls at her school. It was an absolute disgrace watching them all fall apart at her funeral. They acted like it was such a tragedy but they couldn’t have cared less when she was alive and struggling. It was like it was a game or something to win at the funeral to discover who was closer to her or who had more classes with her. It was sickening.
Even 13 years later, I can’t let that go, and I think about her often. I hope she found some kind of peace.”