Dear Jack

Rest in peace, my brother.


Jack Rolfes '17

Jack Rolfes created this self-portrait for his staff profile for The Quill.

Dear Jack,

It was 1:20 AM when I found out. I was lying in bed, half-asleep. After seeing a few vague snapchat stories, I frantically called Elliot Reiring, and braced for the news.

After hearing that you took your own life, disbelief set in. I quickly jumped out of bed, threw an Elder baseball hat on over my disheveled hair, and rushed out the door. I left without even really telling my parents where I was going. On the entire way to Elder, I cried and begged God that this was just some sick joke. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend. As I made my way onto Vincent Avenue, I took a look up at Elder’s building. It was so beautiful, with only a few stray lights, gracefully illuminating it. Even at two o’clock in the morning, at least 30 students were standing on the front steps, hovering over some candles, and honoring you.

Jack, you were the embodiment of Elder High School. There are honestly few people I can say that about. Every day, you were a bright spot in the world, constantly flashing that lighthearted smile. People were always happy around you. I’ll never know all of the reasons for your exit from this world, but I do know about a few of the things you had gone through. You never showed it though. To the average onlooker, you were always happy. You never let your personal struggles get in the way of your friendships or making someone’s day. The word “selfless” comes to mind when I think of you.

Even though we really had just become good friends senior year, I’ll always remember some of the memories I made with you. Kairos with you was a blast. I could tell how involved and engaged you were. My favorite memory from that trip was playing football, me at quarterback, you at receiver, as I threw dart after dart into your hands. You probably had five touchdowns in that game! I was so excited for you when you were chosen to be a leader on the February Kairos. I knew that it was something you really wanted to do, not for yourself, but to make sure others had the same positive experience you had. Mr. Auer still continues to rave about how enthusiastic and how perfect you were for that job.

You also made my yearbook club experience so enjoyable. Joking around with you and Tyler Sadelfeld made the sometimes boring task of putting pictures on a webpage so much fun. I’ll never forget our endless stream of Frau Kraeling jokes or just talking about binge-watching The Office. You must’ve watched that show four or five times through!

You were always there to talk to me about “real” things too. No topic was off-limits or too deep for you. You were always there when someone needed a friend.

You were so gifted. Whether it was on the ice or video editing, you were so talented and creative. The whole school is still laughing about your Walk for Others video.

#43 out on the ice

I think this year was the first time I had actual classes with you. I’m so sorry that they were in the last semester of senior year, but they were a great ride. Whether it was cramming for economics tests at lunch, or venting to me about how your journalism videos weren’t matching your creative vision, I always had fun with you.

Speaking for the whole school, we appreciate you. We love you. You would be amazed at the response of people in the days after your death. It has been incredible. The Elder community has come together to remember you. The community has held several vigils and prayer services in your honor. Don’t worry about your family. I assure you the community will help them out and take care of them. We are all grieving. You left a sizable impact on this school and all of your classmates, and that will never be forgotten. However, everyone knows you’re in a better place. I hope to see you again someday, and in the meantime, I’ll be gazing into the dark nights, looking for your star.

Jack, you will be sorely missed. Love you, my friend. Rest in peace.