Once upon a time, in a place called Yakima, there was a foreign exchange student from Moscow, Russia. His name is Mikiel Smirnov. His family had come ever to the U.S. because they began to hate Russia’s communist views. Mikiel was incredibly talented in music. He could basically pick up an instrument and make the most amazing music ever. He was one of the most talented musicians in his school. Coming to his first day at Eisenhower High School, he thought he would be able to make friend just as easily as he did in his hometown. Little did he know that there were going to be some people here that did not want anything more than to make fun of the new kid. He spent his first day in the band room, playing all the different percussion instruments, and learning all of the names of his fellow percussionists. “This is gonna be an easy senior year!” He thought to himself. But seeing as it was only his first day, he didn’t know what surprises might happen throughout the year. His second day he was taken around the school by a percussionist named Rosa. She showed around to all of his classes and the other various places he could hang out during lunch and until he left after school. He already had in mind the place he was going to be at during lunch. The next day, Mikiel attended all of his classes. He found out that he was exceptionally good at math. His teacher congratulated for earning student of the month in his math class. Mikiel was very proud of himself, he hadn’t really gone to school back in Russia because he was a simple farm boy. When he came home from school he showed his parents. His father Vlad wasn’t exactly impressed. He thought that Russians were superior to Americans. On the other hand his mother was proud of her son. This made him feel a little better. He had always wondered why he wasn’t good enough in his father’s eyes. He determined one day to find out but he had his focus on graduating high school first. Mikiel began exceling in all of his classes. He felt amazing for doing so well in school. But little did he know that his only consequence for excelling was going to be the bullying he would get from the less intelligent students. A couple students in particular would end being the determining factor of how his life would be. They both were in his senior English class. Their names were Tony and Escobar. Tony was a tall scrawny man and Escobar was a little shorter than average but was decent size. For the remainder of the semester they constantly made fun of him. “Why are you such a little nerd?” said Escobar one day. He never responded because name calling didn’t bother him. He kind of shrugged the stupid names and comments they said for most of the semester. But it got to a point where it had gotten frustrating. He never let his frustration show while he was class but it began to just bottle up inside him. One of the days before winter break tony had told him “Why do you even come here? No one likes a stupid Russian communist. Just go back to where you’re from!” Mikiel cracked and yelled “shut you effin throat before I close it for you!” he stormed out of the class and ran home. Little did people Mikiel had a sensitive side. He went straight to his room and screamed in his closet. His closet was the closest thing to a sound proof room he had available to him. The next day he apologized to Tony for yelling at him, but that just made things worse. Now they began to make fun him more and more each day. It went from just a couple of times in class to all class period and eventually to every time they saw him. He began to get angry and upset. He started cutting himself at home, before he went to bed. He tried to talk to his English teacher to help him out with them, but she hadn’t ever heard them say anything to him. He was left to deal with Tony and Escobar alone. He tried talking to them to see if they would finally stop making fun of him, but that failed. He didn’t know what to do about them so he tried to ignore them, even though every little pun or joke they made about him, stuck with him till he started cutting himself at home. Eventually this all led to clinical depression. The end of the semester came and his parents saw his grades. They were disappointed. His father told him “You are a disgrace to us.” His mother had nothing to say to him. He felt as if he couldn’t do anything right. So he started contemplating how to make all of his problems go away. He thought to himself “maybe if I just kill myself it will end it all.” He found a date when his parents would be gone for the weekend and he would do it then. That day at school was one of the best he had had since the first and second day there. He told his teachers and friends that he was moving back to Russia, and told the two kids that ruined his senior year that he hopes they rot in hell for the emotional abuse they gave him most of the year. The boys laughed in his face shouting explicit names as he walked away. When he got home that night he found his father’s stash of Vodka. He drank his some of his pain away with the very old expensive bottle, but to him it wasn’t enough. So he found some old rope out in the shed, tied it onto one of the exposed support beams of the house, made the noose perfectly, and brought in his chair to begin his ending process. Before he got on the chair he had a split though of why he is doing this but it all came back to him. He started writing his suicide note. “Dear Mom and Dad, I’m sorry I am such a disappointment to you guys, but you will never have to deal with this again. I love you so much and I’ll see you in heaven one day.” He put his note on the counter in the kitchen, walked up to his room, stood on the chair, and ended it all. When his parents came home, they hadn’t really noticed the note or that Mikiel was dead. They went to their room put the new clothes they had just bought away and went back down to get the new wardrobe they bought for their son. But on the way out, Mikiel’s mom noticed the short note on the counter. As she read it, she teared up. When she finished, she collapsed to the floor in despair. Her pride and joy was gone. When Vlad came back in, she had him read it. He said nothing, his eyes watered, and he hugged Mikiel’s mother. In his head he blamed himself. When the word got out to Mikiel’s school what happened, Tony and Escobar felt incredibly guilty for all of the crap they put him through. A lot of the school attended Mikiel’s funeral. The school gave his parents an award of the great work their son had done. Eventually this led to the city-wide awareness of suicides in school students, and Mikiel’s story is told to thousands of students every year.