MASON, Ohio -- Days after Mason High School sophomore Kwadwo Boateng, 15, took his own life, a group of his classmates went out of their way to send a message to the rest of their school: no one is alone.
Boateng’s suicide Aug. 25 came as a shock, according to sophomore Michelle Crispin.
“He was very positive and outgoing,” she said. “He always wanted to make people laugh; he always wanted to talk to everyone, no matter who it was."
She and a group of five friends wanted to do something to reach out to classmates who might be experiencing the feelings of hopelessness, isolation and sadness that can drive teens like Boateng to take their own lives -- and they wanted to do it in the spirit of their late classmate.
“Sometimes it can be really hard to fit in or feel like you are wanted at such a large school," said Erica English, another sophomore. “We all thought it would be a good idea to show everyone how they’re needed and make everyone feel good."
Anna Aronson found the perfect idea on Pinterest.
Aronson, English, Crispin and their friends spent eight hours Tuesday night writing thousands of Post-It notes -- one for each student at Mason High -- and attaching them to lockers. Those notes, which bore messages like “You are loved" and “You are awesome," greeted students Wednesday morning when they arrived at school.
It may have taken until 10pm.. But seeing everyone's face was worth it! I'm glad we got to put these up ily all :)) pic.twitter.com/Tp0eu1R1u9
— Anna Aronson (@anna_aronson233) August 31, 2016
“A lot of kids, you’d see them walking around with the Post-It notes or you’d see them talking about it, and it just really made me happy," said Crispin. “We got so many tweets and texts from people who enjoyed it, and it made their day a lot happier."
Mason High principal Dave Hyatt sent out a note thanking the girls for their gesture, but they said the real credit should go to Boateng.
“We basically did this because this is what Kwadwo would do," said Anna Aronson. “We want to send positive messages like he would do with his friends every day."
Nothing can change what happened to Kwadwo Boateng or erase the grief felt by his friends, family and classmates, but these students said they hoped their gesture could change the future by helping someone else in a dark place.