Commentary: Coming together in a time of tragedy

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Chapin Jewell

Just as school was letting out on Thursday, Oct. 28, a tragedy of the highest order occurred locally at Fort Hill High School.

In front of many students, teachers, administrators, and parents picking up their students, 17-year old Saiquan Jenkins, a member of the Fort Hill Sentinels football squad, was senselessly murdered in an altercation involving a knife. The alleged perpetrator, a fellow student.

It’s our worst nightmare come true - a loss of a young life, in front of other young lives, and in a place where they are supposed to feel safe.

A young person has lost their life before it could even really get going. For those who mourn his loss, and now must deal with the memories of the incident itself, there’s no better words to describe it but INNOCENCE LOST.

As adults, now me must respond, now we must rally, TOGETHER. This truly is a time where school boundaries, state boundaries, and all other boundaries, artificial or real, don’t matter. This young man, this young victim, was one of ours…ours as neighbors, as co-workers, as friends and relatives.

On the fields and courts of competition, emotions run high and rivalries most certainly exist. However, there are not boundaries, and there should be no rivalries when it comes to tragedy.

Then came the response. From Allegany, from Mountain Ridge, from Frankfort and Keyser, Hampshire and all other local schools. Kind gestures like encouraging their students to wear red on Friday. Postings from social media accounts ensuring that we were all in this together.

Nothing can ease the pain, but it is so heartwarming to see the responses from all the area schools and people sharing the love, encouraging each other, etc. We truly live in one big, collective, wonderful community.

I have, or have had, my tentacles in every area school. We’re all the same, truly.

Thanks for all the love directed Fort Hill’s way. Keep it coming. They need all they can get.