10.24.2014

An open letter to the students of MPHS

Hello friends.

Is it OK if I call you friends? We don't know each other, but we share a common bond. I am an MP alumn. Class of '97.

It's been years since I stepped foot on campus. If I remember correctly it was to see a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the spring of '99. Later that year, I moved away and haven't returned. But I miss you. And no matter the distance or the number of years that separate us, I still consider you home. My school. My city.

The MPHS campus holds many memories for me. Some good, others not so good. However, even my worst high school memories pale in comparison to the grief you are all feeling today. For that reason, my heart is breaking for you. My body is 300 miles away, but my thoughts are in Marysville.

Today is hard. Tomorrow will be the same. In fact, the next time you enter a classroom, it will be difficult. But there are a few things that I know to be true that I hope will help you.

First, and most important: this is not the end. When tragedy strikes, it's easy to feel as if your world grinds to a stop. While there is a sense of finality that surrounds you, there is much more life ahead of you than anything that lies behind you. Today might have been the closing of one chapter, but tomorrow is a new page in your story - the beginning of the next chapter. You still have the power to achieve greatness. Despite the horrors of today, I believe that your futures hold many wonderful things.

You also need to know that where there is darkness, there is also light. Right now, you have a choice. You can either let the darkness of tragedy consume you. Or, you can choose to be a light in that darkness. Hug your friends. Remind your family how much you love them. Be a shoulder to cry on. Find healing in helping others heal. Find something to hope for and cling to it.

This next bit I know to be true but I can't really explain why. It is just something that I feel at the very root of everything that I am. This tragedy does not define you. You are bigger than this. You are stronger than this. And you are worth more than you will ever comprehend. Each and every one of you are here for a reason. Your family loves you. Your friends need you. And now, more than you may ever recognize, you school needs you. Even if you feel like an outcast or that you don't fit in, just know that there is someone out there who needs you to be here.

Finally, something I see in overwhelming evidence: you are not alone. I have been checking in with friends and former classmates and one theme stands: We support you. Your school is an irrevocable part of what makes us who we are today and that connects us to you. We are your biggest fans. All over, I'm seeing my peers change their profile picture to that of the MP logo and our Tomahawk. We are showing you how much this school means to us and how much we believe in you. The kids I graduated with, they've grown up to be actors, musicians, writers, teachers, preachers, lawyers. We all said the same thing. From members of your community to Cheyenne Wyoming to Dallas Texas; from SoCal to Salt Lake City to Indiana. The message remains the same. Our prayers are with you. Your pain is ours. We are grieving with you.

Sincerely and with much love.

your friend

36 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:04 AM

    Quoting Philosopher Max Lucado - where or no not storms come we cannot choose. Where we stare during the storms we can."

    This message personifies this quote. Thank you MPHS Friend for your message of hope, faith, perseverance of the positive.

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  2. I, too, went to Pilchuck. Class of '94. I now live very far away from my mountains, but have always considered Marysville my hometown. My heart is broken. Nicholas is right; your pain is our pain.

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    1. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is always in Marysville.

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  3. Anonymous9:36 PM

    As a parent who waited on pins and needles to touch my son and see for myself that he was as ok as one could be in the aftermath of such tragedy, I would like to thank you for your amazing letter Nic and your comment Jackie. These kids need to know just that...They are NOT alone and you all that walked before them are lifting them up now, letting them know that they will go on to do amazing things. This is not the end. A lot of innocence was lost yesterday and as we try find to find the words to get our kids and community through this it is nice feel the arms of fellow Marysvillians around us from afar. God bless you and take care.

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    1. I am thankful your son is OK and I hope he allowed you to hug him and hold him for a while as soon as you were able to see him.

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  4. Beautifully written!

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  5. As a kid from Marysville and proud MPHS grad from way back in '92, I am heartbroken for all affected. Thoughts and prayers for all affected - from Newberg, Oregon

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    1. MP Proud. My thoughts are the same.

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  6. Anonymous11:09 AM

    There have had manly tragedies that we have endured this year and this month. We lost an entire neighboring community to a mudslide, we witnessed a neighborhood being shot up, and now we share the grief of children that we all know being directly affected by the shooting at MPHS. We will stand strong as a community because that is what we do best. Your words of support help us to remember that we can do this. WE NEED TO DO THIS for each other. Thanks for being there along with us.

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  7. Anonymous1:58 PM

    As a member of the class of 1979, and a parent I am truly shocked at what has transpired in my school. I pray for all of you to find understanding and peace. Do not let this to take away from who you are and who you will become. Instead let this tragedy move you forward, taking with you the knowledge that when we make decisions and take action that those said actions affect everyone around us. Be aware of the pain others carry and help them if it is in your power to do so. Love strongly! Hold each other tight! And know that you are loved!
    Sending Love and Strength from Florida.

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  8. Anonymous4:05 PM

    Beautiful, heart felt words that I hope all students and parents have opportunity to see. My last Colorado home was in the Columbine School District. This issue of school violence touches the lives of everyone when it happens .... and for those that were in the close proximity of it, it is felt so keenly. I have an adopted family that lives in this area ... and they have children in a school within a short distance of MPHS that also were caught in the lock down. That is how I came to read this article. Bless you for writing it and for sharing it.

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  9. Beautifully written. I hope that your letter is circulated to each and every MP student and staff member. Love and light to you for your heartfelt message.

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    1. I appreciate your thoughts Alexandra.

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  10. Anonymous8:20 PM

    Thank you, Nic. I am a teacher in Marysville, once a teacher at MP, and I have been thinking in a similar vein. I want students and staff to know that they are supported, that they need each other, that they are strong, and that they are resilient. The events of Friday will always be a part of their lives and they can choose and shape what that means.

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    1. My hope for you is that you are able to lead your students by example. Show them your strength and resiliency.

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  11. Thank you for the light in the darkness for us students at MP. You have no idea how much this means to us students. This inspired me and others at MP. MP will always be one big family with it's students now and those that have graduated from there. Thank you so much for this it means a lot to us.

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    1. You - the current students - are my heroes. This family, especially the ones who have gone before you are lifting you up in our thoughts and prayers.

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  12. Home is where the heart is, my heart will always be in Marysville, a wonderful hometown. MHS 1973, the rest of your lives lie before you, go forward and be strong.

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    Replies
    1. Not just the rest of your lives, but lives worth living.

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  13. Anonymous7:48 AM

    I also went to MP so did my husband when it was opened. he went there when it was 6 th grade. As a Parent and Grandparent. I have Family Member that works there and also attend the school. My heart is Broken for the family and friends. For the Students and Staff. Marysville is a Wonderful Place to live and Raise your Children. This is something you see on the news somewhere else. Prayers and love to all. Thank You!!!

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  14. Thank you for sharing words from the heart Nicholas. They will bring love, light, and hope to many. I graduated from M-P in 1976 and have a close friend (also from MP) who lost a niece in this tragedy. I will share your message with her when the time is right. Thank you again!

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  15. Very well written. You have spoken for a lot of us. My heart aches for the entire community. I agree as a '97 graduate we are all apart of the MP family.

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    1. Always will be a part of that family.

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  16. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Beautiful message, wonderfully written and so timely. Thank you and may God bless!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words.

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  17. ashley olmstead11:00 PM

    I've never cried so much.. I feel the pain... my heart aches.. very beautiful words, my friend.. god bless mphs, all the students, staff members and families.. may god be with the ones in the hospital and may the two angels rest in paradise..

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  18. Anonymous1:23 AM

    I am not an MPHS grad but an Arlington grad of' '73. I am also a teacher in Lakewood. I consider this area to be my community. As a mom and grandma, teacher and community member I am deeply pained by the events and loss that has been inflicted. This letter says so much. Keep it handy and reread it daily. Please know there are people everywhere thinking of and praying for you.

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