Wednesday, February 3 was a day that left the entire Westminster community with heavy hearts. Hallways and classrooms throughout the campus were silent as students and faculty tried to understand the tragedy that had just been announced. But we could not understand. So we mourned.

     Those who did not personally know JD mourned alongside his close friends and teachers. We, as a community, came together in this time of grief to console one another with kind words and even comforting silence. When our words failed us, we found strength in the presence of those around us.

     For some, this was their first brush with grief, while others have felt the pain before. We have all felt it in some way or another, and we all deal with it differently. Some cry, some are angry and confused, and others distract themselves with schoolwork and try their best to keep busy. These are all valid feelings and responses.

     But despite hardship, the story goes on. The big successes within this community as well as the big tragedies do not mark the end of the greater story. JD left his mark on this school in the hearts of his teachers and peers, and that spirit will live on.

     Every day, though, we can do things to honor the memory of JD We can work hard and do it without complaining. We can play hard and put our best efforts into every practice, every game or meet, and every race we run. Most importantly, we can love each other well and treat everyone with respect because their lives are significant and precious. We must bond together in this time and lift each other up.

     As a staff, we would like to offer our thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of JD in this difficult time as we try to hold on to hope of the future.