By Lauren McCracken
The Alexandria community mourns the loss of T. C. Williams senior Ian Daughtrey, who took his own life this past weekend. A lover of written word and photography and an avid longboarder, he is remembered best for being a devoted and caring friend. Grief counseling, which became available to students on Monday, continues to be open at T. C. for those who need it.
Ian, who worked at Lone Star Steakhouse and helped tutor children as a member of T. C.’s Didactic Guild, planned on joining the armed forces after high school. “College was one of his objectives,” said mother Lisa Daughtrey. “But he was a wildflower.”
“He was a teenager just like anybody else,” she said. “But his interests were just different. He liked old school hip-hop and R&B. Ian was an old soul. He was from a different era.”
After the army, Ms. Daughtrey said her son was interested in becoming a psychiatrist. A compassionate young man, he wanted to “help people in their darkest times.” Ian would often talk to his mom about troubles that his friends were having, and expressed the desire to help them with their problems. “His heart was bigger than I imagined. He carried everyone’s burdens with him,” she said.
“I want Ian to be remembered as compassionate,” said Ms. Daughtrey. “He was a gentleman, considerate and kind. He gave great hugs. Ian was the sweetest person that people knew. In one word, he was just awesome.”
T. C. senior Haley Harrington wants to remember Ian as someone who lived in the moment. “He rarely ever thought about the future and even more rarely thought about the past,” she said. “He could always make you smile. He had this way of bringing out the best in you. Also, his hugs were amazing… Just thinking about them leaves my chest feeling empty.”
Fellow senior Rachelle Ehrman remembers Ian as loving. “He always hugged everyone no matter what and never had a harsh word to say about anyone,” she said. “He refused to gossip… he loved everyone unconditionally. He was also great at giving advice… I will miss all of his insight so much.”
Since news spread of his death, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have been abuzz with posts honoring Ian. In addition, some T. C. students have organized a candlelight vigil to commemorate the death of their close friend, and celebrate his life. The vigil will start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, on the field in front of the T. C. parking garage.
“It makes me feel really good,” said Ms. Daughtrey. “I need that right now because their spirit keeps me going. He’s going to be smiling down on us.”
Thus far, she said that the school has been “open, honest and gracious” to her regarding the loss of her son, and “very supportive” if she needs anything. “I’m just grateful to know that teachers, staff, students – everybody – loved him,” she said. “We’re all leaning on each other. I love that my son was loved so much.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been completed.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide results in 4,400 lost lives each year in young people between the ages of 10 and 24. More young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. Each year approximately 149,000 young between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries. Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide. Of the reported suicides in this age range, 84% of the deaths were males and 16% females.
If you are a teenager who is depressed or if you know someone who is depressed or considering suicide, speak to an adult that you trust or call one of the following numbers:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
- The Mental Health Association in Alexandria: 703-212-0010.
- CrisisLink: 703-527-4077.
- The Kristin Brooks Hope Center: 540-338-5756.