Teens of LC Valley practiced safety over summer 2019


Williams speaks of tragedies that happen yearly. Photo by Kim Neri.

Kimberly Neri, Features Assistant

Last summer, everyone in the valley was rocked by the deaths of three beloved teens from the LC Valley: Luke Christopher, Liz Kruger, and Jared Lee. Their deaths brought an onslaught of concern over teen safety.

Some say that every summer at least one death occurs in the Lewis-Clark Valley. Some say this strange occurrence happens approximately every five years. There was wary anticipation for a death to happen in the summer of this year, but to everyone’s pleasant surprise, no death took place.

Unfortunately, as the school year started, a recent teen death occured. Luis Diaz from Deary High School was found dead after a hiking accident near Elk Creek.

Neil Williams, an LHS counselor, said that teenage deaths have been happening in the valley for quite a few summers now. According to him, at least one, sometimes two or three, teen deaths caused by a variety of reasons are reported almost every year.

When deaths like these occur in such small towns, residents, especially the peers of the deceased, are bound to be affected in some way or another. Other students had the initiative to look after themselves and their peers after reports of the deaths have been made public.

“When I heard about the death at Buffalo Eddy, I was scared,” Liliya Admire, an LHS junior, said. “It may have not affected me much, but it did increase my wariness of the water, and I don’t think I’d go to Buffalo Eddy by myself anymore.”

Parents also did their part in ensuring the safety of their children, may it be physically or mentally. “My mom made my boyfriend at that time and I call suicide hotline even though we both weren’t suicidal,” Erin Kammer, an LHS alum, said.

Williams said that teen deaths happen for a variety of reasons. The school’s part in helping prevent such tragedies from happening is having the suicide awareness event in the school, Officer Massey providing insight on safe driving, health teachers emphasizing personal safety, and reminding students to be attentive to what they are doing.

“I just think there’s more awareness within the staff and even the students themselves,” Williams observed after the tragedies that happened last year, “I think people are taking care of themselves and others a little better.”

There also has been an increasing amount of students bringing up concerns for the welfare of their friends.

“We want the students to be more aware of telltale signs that their peers exhibit,” Williams said.

According to Williams tragedies like these are probably going to happen again, “It doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen again, although we want it not to.”

The school is certainly doing things to help deal with these tragedies. LHS is running a grief group every year which is open to any student who wants to be a part of it if they choose to. The group gives support to the people left behind.

“Anything that impacts our students here, we try to deal with,” said Williams.