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After going through a normal school day, guest writer Richie Cortez, ‘20, discovered a friend from another school had committed suicide. Cortez explained how it affected him throughout his first column: COLUMN: Sophomore mourns over loss of friend.

Our conversation ended and he prayed for me. He prayed for Clovis East, the family going through this difficult time and for people to stay strong. When he finished I thanked him for what he did. He walked me back on campus into the building and I told the office I was going back to class.

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

There is one suicide every twenty-five suicide attempts. 24% of all high school students have thought of attempting suicide. 30,000 Americans commit suicide every year.

The day went on and it was pretty much over. The next day, Wednesday, was even harder than the day before. It finally sunk in that this person was gone. I didn’t talk to anyone before school started. I walked into class and immediately put my head down as I sat down. I had earphones in, listening to music to tune everyone out. I started to break down again.

I cried and I knew everyone could hear me, I knew they saw me even though my head was down. My friend came next to me and he put his arm around me but I did not acknowledge him. Right as class was about to start I walked out of the class. Not telling the teacher I just walked out.

As I walked out of the class I saw one of my classmates running after me and calling my name. I did not want to turn around because there were many people in the hallways and I did not want to be seen. I went upstairs straight to the counselor’s office. I walked in and he was not in there.

I sat down and I could see him coming into the office. He looked concerned walking in and asked if I was alright. I was trying to get a word out as I was crying but there was nothing. I just sat there with my head in my shirt. For the rest of the class period I stayed in the office, the counselor talked to me a little while longer.

You should never be scared to tell someone that you are hurting or that you need help. Someone will help you. You should not feel like you can overcome mountains and carry this much stress. As someone who has been depressed at a very young age, you can do it. — Richie Cortez

He told me not to let the evil mess with my mind. I need to stay strong in my faith at times like these. As the day went on more and more people started to figure out what was going on. My friends were comforting me and being very supportive as I went through this difficult time.

It is hard not to think of the event when it is in my mind all day. I tried so hard to distract myself from what was going on. The same thing happened when I walked into English class. Right before class started, I tried not to get emotional but it was too hard not to.

My friend Logan (Lewis, ‘19) noticed that I was hurting and talked to me. He told me to go to the restroom and he’d let the teacher know something was wrong. He came to talk to me, asking how I felt about the situation. I told him that I wasn’t angry about it, but I was more confused as to why.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Sophomore Richie Cortez.

There are so many questions all of us have, but sometimes, those questions do not have answers. Logan gave me a song to listen to called “King of my Heart” by John Mark McMillan and told me to read over the lyrics.

We went back to class and everyone glanced as we walked in but everyone carried on with their day. I usually stay after school on Wednesdays because of youth group so I was one of the first people there sitting in the cafe of the building. It got later and my friend from Clovis East showed up.

We started to talk about how we felt about this event and I could tell she was hurt as I was. She looked as she was about to cry so I hugged her, knowing how she felt because that was the way I felt all day. As everything was about to start we walked into where the worship team plays. I knew this was going to be an emotional night for my friend and I. Worship was about to begin and it started off uptempo and hype.

Then it got to the point where they started playing the song “King of my Heart”. When you worship and feel the spirit of the Lord around you, it’s a weird feeling, but it’s a good feeling. Worship came to a close and we went back to our seats and the service began. Throughout the service, it was hard to focus. I looked at my friend as we were about to pray and I held her hand and we bowed our heads.

As the youth pastor was praying I could hear my friend crying as she squeezed my hand tighter. Prayer ended and we got up and the worship team came back out. They started playing another song as the youth pastor was still speaking. The pastor said to get out of your comfort zone and if you want to come up to the front, don’t wait for anyone.

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

Students often find ways to share struggles in safe environment with youth leaders, counselors or teachers. 

Without hesitation, I began to make my way up to the front of the stage. My friend walked behind me and we began to sing again. We were both very emotional and once the song ended we gave each other a hug. She was crying hard, all I could do was comfort her. We stayed after everything ended. I went up to my friend Logan and asked if he could pray for us and he said he’d love to.

All three of us put our arms on one another in a circle and Logan began to pray. When he was done I wiped away my tears and gave him a hug and thanked him. The night went on and we had a great time talking to others. Up to this point, I feel like I’ve shared everything I’m comfortable with saying.

Suicide should never be an option. Unfortunately, people think it is. People need to realize their life does have a purpose and there is a reason you are on this earth, in the situations you’re in.

Are you going to make a difference in this world, or are you going to watch other people make that difference? I’m writing this because I am tired of seeing people hurt and feel like their life does not matter. I want people to know that there is someone that does love them. God loves them no matter what.

Suicide is so common in this generation; with all the new technology, there are new forms of bullying. People should realize the things they say to people could hurt someone. We do not know what others might be going through. We don’t know their struggles. But that’s the thing about this entire situation. Sometimes we do not know when someone is hurting because they don’t call out for help. — Richie Cortez

Suicide is so common in this generation; with all the new technology, there are new forms of bullying. People should realize the things they say to people could hurt someone.

We do not know what others might be going through. We don’t know their struggles. But that’s the thing about this entire situation. Sometimes we do not know when someone is hurting because they don’t call out for help.

You should never be scared to tell someone that you are hurting or that you need help. Someone will help you. You should not feel like you can overcome mountains and carry this much stress. As someone who has been depressed at a very young age, you can do it.

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

While everyone endures their own hardships, it’s important to reach out and support others.

I am putting it all on here because I want this to help someone in need who is nervous to let someone know that they are hurting. I overcame this by saying yes to God. I honestly do not think I would be the person I am today if I did not come to this school.

Fresno Christian has taught me a lot. It is a place where teachers and classmates can pray in class. In other districts, it is not allowed and I would not experience what I do now if I was not at this school.

What I am trying to convey is once you give your life to Jesus you have found your purpose. We need to comfort people in hard times and be kind to one another. Do not be afraid to sit next to that kid that sits by themselves at lunch.

You need to put your ego aside and be a good person. Pride is not always a good thing, people need to realize that. I do not know how many times I have to say this, but suicide is not an option. People will read this and read that exact part and think “Then do something”. I can’t do this on my own. We all need to help and we all need to fight to end this before another person kills themselves.

Let that sink in.

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

If you or someone you know is struggling, do not be afraid to call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), available 24 hours a day.

What if you got that call or that text. Your brother, sister, mom, dad or your best friend committed suicide. What would you do? Sit there, or do something about it?

There is one suicide every 25 suicide attempts. Nearly 25% of all high school students have thought of attempting suicide and over 30,000 Americans commit suicide every year. On average one person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes.

Reading these facts made me sick. It hurts reading these. What if we could drop this number? Again, I would not be writing this paper if I did not experience this type of loss multiple times. It happens way too often. I’m doing this for people who it was too late for. I want to make a difference and help people, but you can not make a difference by sitting down. Be a light for someone.

If you or someone you know is struggling, do not be afraid to call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Read part one of Cortez’s column, COLUMN: Sophomore mourns over loss of friend. For more columns, read COLUMN: Calvin Crest counselors muse over 2nd-year experience. For The Feather Online’s Suicide PSA, read Hope: Let’sTalk – Teenage suicide PSA. Finally, students may also read Let’s Talk: Depression.

For a recent Feather article and video on the topic, read Local suicides prompt campus response.

Richie Cortez can be reached via email: Richie Cortez.

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