Saturday, January 18, 2014

University Contest Turns Into Tribute for Teen Suicide Victim

Before tragically taking his own life on Tuesday, January 14th, 17-year-old Ontario, Canada high school student Alexander Roy-Lachapelle was involved in an amateur video-making contest. The competition, sponsored by Laurentian University, closed a day after his passing and buoyed by a rapid word-of-mouth tribute campaign, this young man's effort on behalf of Renaissance Catholic High School won.

There is no dialogue in the two-minute video shot and edited by Lachapelle, but the school mascot is front and center. The intent all along was to use the $10,000 prize to help make this year's Renaissance prom even better. While some have now called for the money to be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Lachapelle's father told the Toronto Star that he would like to see the money still go towards the prom.

According to that same article, per Lachapelle's mother, young Alexander had "recently come out of a long period of darkness." In addition to clinical depression, he had battled bullying at school and thus, his death will no doubt become the latest, sad rallying point for those fighting against this pervasive, damaging behavior. From the Star report:

"He was judged, excluded, ignored and mocked,” Sylvain Levasseur, among a small circle of Roy-Lachapelle’s friends, wrote in an email. “A few of his friends would pull pranks on him, nothing horrible just little things."

Funeral services are scheduled for tonight, at 6 p.m. ET, in Aurora, Ontario. RIP. From the funeral home digital guestbook:

Brian Wayne: I was very saddened and shocked to hear of the passing of Alex. I was his school bus driver for the past year and a half and always found him to be very polite and friendly. It was a pleasure having him on my bus and I will miss him. My deepest sympathy to the family.

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