Monday, November 20th, 2017. At 7:55 AM teachers rose and read off an email sent out by Mr. Adamakos. It detailed how student, athlete, and friend Ian Jewell died after suffering a gunshot wound. Many students had already heard the news from social media and word of mouth. Suddenly every student stood up for a moment of silence.
Although uncommon, people have had their lives taken away while in high school. Ian’s death came as a shock for those who loved and cared for him because it happened so suddenly and without warning. That’s the thing about death though, it can happen fast and to those you wouldn’t suspect. Many senior classes were having a hard time concentrating on classwork, and that’s because Ian touched every person that walked these hallways. His smile was familiar to every face and he was open to conversation with each and every student. Many classes decided to talk about how they were feeling in an effort to cope with the situation. Some talked about him: sharing memories, and remembering the best of times. Ian was gone but the student population would not forget him.
Senior class officer president Eric Langley told me, “Originally I was very confused and couldn’t help but feel sad for his family because of all the trouble his little sister has gone through. In a tragedy like this, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I’ve tried to take the positive out of the whole situation. Instead of being sad he’s gone, I’m happy that he touched my life and that I crossed paths with him.”
Eric originally proposed the idea of the vigil to be held later that night. After talking to a fellow senior who knew Ian, he felt that the vigil was what everyone needed in order to gather their emotions and better understand what was going on. The next day, many students wore tie-dye because it was his favorite color. It was heart-warming to see how many students came out in support of him.
After this tragedy, Memorial showed how it refuses to forget Ian— always remembering the best of times with him. Walking these hallways in the days after the event, it almost seemed like people smiled more genuinely, almost as if people started to appreciate each other more. It’s sad that it has taken a tragedy for us to remember the value of life, but it’s a tribute to someone who loved and valued life tremendously, and that was Ian Jewell.
As soon I walked through the doors of Memorial I saw friends sitting in a group on the floor with tears rolling down their faces mourning the death of one of our own, Ian Jewell, on a Monday night. I stood in the front of Memorial’s office watching more and more people walk in. There was a table set up with pictures of Ian with his friends and family. Everyone was handed a red rose right before walking outside in front of Memorial near the flagpole to light candles. A couple moments later, Memorial’s psychology teacher Mr. Lessieur, who had Ian as a student, spoke. He spoke about the good memories his students wrote in class that day about Ian. After that, Mrs. Couture went on to talk about Ian, who she had in her anatomy and physiology class. The chamber choir learned Ian’s favorite song, Hey Jude by The Beatles, which was amazing because they had only that day to practice it. When the song ended, English teacher Ms. Dooly, who had him in college composition, talked about how he loved the universe. She went on to talk about how we are all made of stardust which means we are all connected. The Vigil ended with students placing the roses on the table with the pictures of Ian.
I asked some Memorial High School students how they felt after getting some time to let Ian’s passing sink in. Here are their responses:
” Still sad but since Thanksgiving it’s even sadder because he wasn’t here with his family for it.” – Mercedes Wymann
“I don’t know, it was a very somber moment .” Sejla
“Me personally, a little better” – Gunnar Bron
“I’m feeling better, still upsetting” – Viviana Martinez
“I still feel sorrow for his family. I didn’t know him that much, but I did have him in my middle school healthy lives class. He joked around and made everyone’s day. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.” – JC Spezeski