Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Memory of Jake Jahn

Jake Jahn, a student who attended high school in Marysville (about 10 minutes from Port Huron), passed on Monday night when his car hit a cement bridge. 

I know that sounds kind of cold coming off the page.

I did not personally know him, but many of the youth in the youth group did. He was 17, I believe captain of the swim team, good grades, and well loved by the community. My housemates, Jeremy's supervisor at Community Mental Health, left work to go be with the family when it happened as she is the crisis person. It is all very tragic and the youth are taking it very hard. Needless to say I scrapped my original youth group plans for the group tonight to be present with them and our grieving, but I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. 


The community feels a lot like it did in my hometown after the Frontier Middle School shooting that took place in Moses Lake when I was the same age as my elementary students. Obviously it's a very different scenario and I would never say the two are the same, but the way the community is responding is similar. So much shock, especially in these young people's lives. 


And you have to wonder what was the reason. To my knowledge there wasn't a note and I don't know if there was any bullying involved or mental illness. So far it doesn't sound that way? Please keep the youth and myself in your prayers.

11 comments:

  1. I met jake at the grand valley honors band he was soo loving we were good friends without him I wouldn't have met my boyfriend and my 4 friends that I hild dear to my heart jake was the best flute player I'd ever met he had many schools interested in him and had gotten in michigan state I love jake with all my heart..

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  2. The institution that is MHS has some serious problems. Having been myself a straight-A student, a swim captain, and involved in the musicals there (and as someone who was frequently bullied by students and on occasion by administrators), I was truly struck by this story. We should all get involved in making our public education system a safer, more supportive one.

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  3. r.i.p. Jake....

    -Coty Peterson (marysville viking regiment colorgaurd)

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  4. REST IN PEACE jake jahn

    Matt Cahill

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  5. The students are saying that he was accused of stealing the choir teacher's laptop since it was seen that he had been working on one over the weekend. The principal and the teacher mentioned bullied him. His future was everything to Jake. Knowing him personally and working with him on several projects in my senior year, I know he wouldn't have stolen anything. Many students are saying that Farnsworth (the principal) told Jake without having the authority to, that he wasn't going to college, that his scholarships were taken away, and that he wouldn't have a life. I'm not saying it's entirely true, but behind closed doors it could have been anything. Jake believed him, whatever Farnsworth told him... and took his own life shortly thereafter. We lost a brilliant young man on Monday.

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  6. It's hard to say what I have felt about Jake. Most of it needn't be said or has already been said. Many people I've talked to noticed that he had been acting abnormally for at least 4 days before Monday. However, he wasn't at the point he reached until "administration" held him for that hour. I've been seeing people from across the state and further just as heartbroken as those here in Marysville, and it just shows how many people truly care about him. He was on the fast track to a lifetime of success, him being gone is a tragedy.

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  7. It is habit for all humanity throughout time to find a direct cause for any event that causes us great distress or pain for which we do not have a ready explanation. Young students and others cannot be judged for blaming the school for such a tragedy. It seems to be a clear explanation. It makes it easier for us to understand and grasp why someone so obviously and outwardly brilliant became this hopeless in such an apparently sudden way. Blame makes the grieving process easier at first.

    Using common sense, one thing we must remember is that suicide is not random. This was not because of one isolated event. This cannot be put on the shoulders of one person or even one group. Taking this path of blame would be one of least resistance. Then we could say "Oh, it's their fault. Problem solved. We can make the appropriate people pay for this, then we can move on with our lives." This solves nothing.

    What about the truth? What about PREVENTION? What about the thousands of people in the world we are living in NOW who face only darkness everywhere they turn? What will dismissing the reality of this do for us? For our children? We must accept that clearly there was more to Jake's death than even he had the capacity to explain.

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    1. I agree. I think there was more to Jake's death.

      Looking at suicide in a larger more general context, I think teenagers and young adults experience suicidal thoughts more so than generations before them. One of my professors in college speaking from his experience said that students now are much more depressed than they were 20 years ago. Knowing this, it definitely leads to the question "what is being done for prevention?"

      I am not sure what the high schools in the area were doing before (or after) this incident as far as suicide prevention. But I definitely know that other areas of the US are talking about suicide prevention especially at the college level, my own alma mater comes to mind in particular. Another great resource that has started the conversation for suicide prevention is PostSecret (google it if you are unfamiliar). Frank, the creator of PostSecret, is a strong advocate for suicide prevention. However, this site may be considered 'inappropriate' for high schoolers as it can have mature content.

      For all the people who are living in darkness now, I do not have an easy answer, especially since I can on some level relate having suffered from major depression as a teenager. But I do think it's important to remember that when we are suffering/hurting/seeing-darkness-everywhere we do have a responsibility to our self to reach out for help and seek it. Because if there is not the individual will to want help, no one else can help. Some possible ways others can help is to make it easier for those hurting to reach out for help maybe by talking openly about suicide, having the suicide prevention phone number accessible, and checking in with how people are doing. Those are some ideas off the top of my head anyway.

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    2. jake was my little brother. i wrote that suicide is not random, and this case is no different. i wish it were so easy, and we could just say "Look what that school did to him!" instead of looking at all the factors and warning signs. i know from personal experience that jake's life held much despair, and maybe he sought some sort of relief from the heavy burdens he carried. my wish is that one day another child in his position would be given the support and guidance they so desperately need. i know that i will never again miss an opportunity to tell someone how much they matter and that they are loved. -A

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  8. Jakes little brother likes me and we are dating I reming his little brother everyday that I am there for him if he needs anything

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