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Colorado HS Answers Desperate Message Scrawled on Wall With Sticky Notes Full of Hope, Love and Support

By Debra West | February 18, 2020

Hannah Blackman/Facebook

This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, success stories and random acts of kindness found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74Million.org/series/inspiring.

Sticky notes, those ubiquitous colorful squares used for everything from brainstorming ideas to reminding forgetful parents to pick up milk, were used in a Golden, Colorado, high school for what may be their highest purpose: to help save a life.

It all started when Golden High School English teacher Ashley Ferraro found some distressing graffiti scrawled on the girls’ bathroom wall. 

“Is life worth all the bullshit?” was scratched in ink on the white cinderblock. 

“When I first saw it, my reaction as a teacher was, ‘Ah, graffiti! We need to cover this up or erase it or get rid of it,’ Ferraro told CBS Denver. “And then I had the thought of, if we do that, are we ignoring the question and the person that asked it and the pain that they’re in?”

Ferraro encouraged her students to answer, and soon the desperate message was surrounded by sticky notes bearing messages of hope.

“YES, because you are so LOVED by so many people, even strangers. Sometimes you go through the hard times to get to the good. Trust me, I’ve been there,” read one.

 “There are many more good times in life than bad times,” read another. “Live for those good times.” 

Soon there were so many notes, they spilled out onto the hallway walls. 

“People are going through stuff so severely that they don’t want to be alive anymore,” sophomore Teagan McGovern told Fox31. “I don’t think people grasp how big of a deal that is.” 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teenagers. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers information and ways to help. 

Golden High sophomore Hannah Blackman started a Facebook campaign to raise money for suicide prevention. 

“I think it’s always — always — important to reach out and see if anybody needs help or even just a small act of kindness like the sticky notes,” Blackman told CNN.

Ferraro told CNN that no one has yet discovered who wrote the original graffiti message. The responses, however, echoed through the entire school and were undoubtedly heard by others, reinforcing optimism and perhaps even holding off despair. 

“Personally, I know going in there even when I’m not having a bad day is just like a good feeling just to see the positivity,” student Taylor Volek told Fox31.

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