My sister Gabrielle "Gabi" Keil took her own life October 27, 2016 at the age of 15. Gabi was in 11th grade at Harrisonville High School, where she enjoyed astronomy and science. She loved being with her friends and family, listening to music, journaling, and especially writing poems. She excelled in photography and writing. She was a published author in the book Discovered: 2013 Poetry Collection (pg. 105). She had the most amazing smile and brown eyes that were as big and beautiful as her heart, but little did we know how much pain she was suffering on the inside.
I am writing this petition because Harrisonville High, which my other sister Claire Keil and I have attended and graduated from, refuses to acknowledge my sister Gabi during graduation by calling her name and her family stepping up to receive her award. They are willing enough to leave an empty chair and print her name in the graduation program pamphlet but not call her name out. Because of how she died, the principal and superintendent feel it may cause sadness and bring people down on a day that supposed to be celebratory.
A few months after Gabi passed, my mom went to drop off Gabi's pictures for the yearbook at the school, the office called Gabi's name over the school's intercom to come to the office to be picked up early. With that and allowing a scholarship in her name, and having a memorial page in the yearbook dedicated to her, they are still refusing to acknowledge her at graduation.
Mentioning her name and her family accepting her award on her behalf would mean the world to us. This is a tragedy not only for my family, but for many of the students. The acknowledgement of her at graduation can help with everyone's healing. If anything, it will remind people that this is something they shouldn't do, as in to not take their own life.