Connect with friends, family and people you dont even know

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: MADISON STATEN - Students at West Linn High School made a banner in honor of Taylor Combs.When children are young, parents take it upon themselves to instill in them a confidence that they can be anything. It is not until we go to school and open a few history books that we learn the difference between having the ability to achieve and actually improving the world.

At age 13, Anne Frank knew an evil that most can’t even imagine. At the same time, her outlook on life was more mature then most adults’will ever be. She made a decision to use her talents to their full potential even though she was being persecuted. She ended up changing the world.

Later she would be quoted in her diary saying, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: MADISON STATEN - Madison StatenTeenagers, and all people for that matter, have qualities that can make the world a better place. Everyone has a legacy that affects each person they meet in either a positive or a negative way. Each has the ability to change someone’s life, even if it’s just with a simple compliment. It only takes one moment to do something good.

Some say that popularity is a hierarchy, especially in high school. Naysayers will say teenagers can’t do anything without the right “status” in high school. Students make the right choices all the time and can be united. It’s horrific that it took a tragedy to recently unite West Linn High School students.

Nov. 26 affected each student at West Linn High School differently. It was the day we lost a friend, a comedian, an intellectual and gained an angel. It didn’t matter who you were. You felt for this girl and this day was for her. There were hugs in the hallways and tears in the forum. The students of West Linn were finally united. We would have traded it all for a glimpse of the angel, Taylor Combs.

She had been such a beautiful gift and the legacy she left was made clear through her family and friends. Facebook was lit up with messages:

“You were the type of girl who could be friends with everyone and anyone because you were just so fun to be around and could make everyone feel special. There was always a smile on your beautiful face and you were so kind to everyone. Taylor, you are so loved and are already so missed. ... My prayers go to the Combs family.”

— Elena Yraguen

“I am still shocked about what I heard today. I knew Taylor pretty well. She was an amazing, bubbly and funny person. She was a really fun person to be around and now I regret not getting to know her better. We all loved Taylor and I know that she will be missed immensely. She was a beautiful girl and I know that her personality will be missed. My prayers will be said for her family and all others who have been impacted. We loved you Taylor...Rest in peace, you will be missed.”

— Cole Stockston

“Taylor, you were an amazing friend and you were always nice to everybody. We became great friends when we sat next to each other in all five of our classes we had last year. This year we talked a bunch and became even better friends; seeing a best friend go is really hard but I would have never thought it would be you, which makes it hard to believe. All I can say is that you’re an amazing person and I pray for you and your family. Rest in peace Tay-Tay and I’m gonna miss you so much.”

— Matthew Schmitz

“The point ... is to show everyone your beauty inside and out. You cared for so many people and you never picked on anyone. You are my best friend and always will be. I love you and I miss you so much, honestly I’m hyperventilating and crying. Have fun in paradise, and please watch over me so I know your soul is still here. I will love you forever.”

— Anna Wetherell

Teenagers are often given a bad rap for being juvenile in extreme situations, but West Linn High School students were there for each other in this hard time. They rose to the challenge and wanted to do whatever they could for each other and the Combs family.

The trick is staying united, one month, six months, a year from now, without a tragedy. I believe it can be done. Staying united is what will prevent future tragedy. Seeking out others who might think different than you, or even getting to know your friends on a deeper level, will help promote positive experiences at West Linn High School.

You never know who could be having suicidal thoughts and it’s important to connect with your friends, family and maybe someone you don’t even know. At the very least you can make someone smile. If you feel like you need to talk, always remember that nothing is too bad to say out loud — talking to a parent, counselor or teacher you trust will relieve a lot of pressure in your life. If you need to talk to a friend you can always talk to me.

Taylor was an amazing, bubbly, beautiful girl who is now a beautiful angel. If you can’t do it for a better future, do it for her. She’s watching over us — waiting for us to change the world.

Warning signs of suicide

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die

  • Talking about feeling hopeless or lacking purpose

  • Talking about feeling trapped or in pain

  • Talking about being a burden

  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly

  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs

  • Sleeping more or less than usual

  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated

  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

    If someone exhibits these warning signs, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Do not leave him or her alone; remove firearms, alcohol and drugs and sharp objects; and take him or her to an emergency room or seek help from a health professional.

    Madison Staten is a freshman at West Linn High School.

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