CCA Community Stands Together Amidst Loss of Middle School Student

As CCA grieves the loss of one of our eighth grade students who took his own life, we wanted to equip parents with various resources that will help them walk alongside their child as they grieve, discuss the suicide crisis today’s teens are battling, and recognize the warning signs. Join us as we pray for the Lord to be close to the brokenhearted.

Today was a somber day at CCA. We grieve the loss of one of our eighth grade students who took his own life yesterday evening. There are no words to express the heaviness that is on our hearts as our school community grieves for the student’s family as they process this tragic event that no family should ever have to experience. We ask that our community be in continual prayer for them.

All of our Middle School students, teachers, and staff gathered in the Theatre this morning for a time of prayer and counseling that was led by Head of School Dr. Jason Rachels, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Lead Pastor, Doug Sauder, and Middle School Principal Joseph Wilson. Students had the opportunity to process their emotions — confusion, sadness, anger, numbness — with teachers, administrators, and in the written form by asking questions or jotting down thoughts on note cards. Support will be available to students and parents this week and moving forward as needed through CCA and Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale staff.
"We are here for you, and we love you with an unending love, and God loves you a million times more than that."
As we weep together as one community, we know that Jesus weeps together with us (John 11:35) and understands our pain. Mr. Wilson reminded students of the depth of God’s love for them and how we will get through this difficult time with our arms wrapped around each other in support:

“Being a community means being there for your friends and sensing when your friend isn’t doing well and speaking up and saying, ‘Hey you don’t look good today, what’s up?’ Do that for each other. We are here for you, and we love you with an unending love, and God loves you a million times more than that,” said Mr. Wilson.

He also relayed a message from the student’s mother that was directed to all Middle School students in the assembly:

“There's nothing a kid can do that can't be worked out. Please talk to your parents no matter what. Taking your life should never be the answer to problems. We are heartbroken beyond words. There are far too many pressures on kids today, especially our adolescents. This was senseless, and we are devastated and don't want any other families to go through this unbearable pain.”

God is Greater

As followers of Jesus Christ, we know that the enemy is out to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). We and our children are fighting against “forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world” (Ephesians 6:12). We cannot ignore this reality or underestimate its effect on our lives.
“There's nothing a kid can do that can't be worked out.”
As Christians, we should also know and truly believe in our hearts that although Satan’s influence can be strong, the power and sovereignty of our God — the Creator of the Universe — is so much greater. Because of Him, we can have hope for and face tomorrow. By putting on the Armor of God and engaging in fasting and fervent prayer, we can be on the offense and fight on behalf of the loved ones God has entrusted to us.

Where to Start

As we head into spring break, we know this will be something on many of our minds, and with suicide being a very real national crisis, you may be wondering how you should approach this topic with your child(ren). Or perhaps you’re unsure of what signs to look for to determine if your child is struggling with suicidal thoughts and/or tendencies. We want to provide you with resources and information from to help you navigate this very challenging topic:

It is also important to recognize that grief can take various forms and stages and comes in waves. Parents should be mindful of this if they are walking alongside their child(ren) as they grieve.

Although our hearts are heavy, may we be reminded as Eagles that we can run to the Father — who sits on the throne — again and again with all of our burdens, surrendering them at His precious feet. His freedom is free. Will you accept it and live purposefully in that gift?

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” —Isaiah 40:29-31


You Are Not Alone

If you or your child are battling suicidal thoughts and need to talk to someone immediately, please don’t delay in speaking to someone. You are not alone. Calvary Christian Academy and Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale are safe spaces where trained mental health professionals and ministers can counsel you. If you live in South Florida and would like to schedule an appointment, please reach out to Lori Watkins, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Family Ministry Assistant, at or 954-556-4411.

Focus on the Family offers a complimentary counseling consultation from a Christian perspective, which can be reached at 1-855-771-HELP (4357). Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 or via online chat.


Additional Resources:

  • Healthy Ways to Help Your Child Grieve
    Children and teenagers may experience a spectrum of emotional responses when faced with tragedy or trauma. Discover what you can do as a parent to help them process.

  • Christian Counseling: Why and When It Can Benefit Believers
    With the ubiquity of mental health issues, many people, including those in the Christian community, are reluctant to discuss and navigate this topic. Learn how God can work through licensed Christian mental health counselors to guide you and your family through these five prevalent life circumstances.

  • 3 Ways to Speak Words of Life to Your Children
    Proverbs 18:21 states that the power of life and death are in the tongue. This means that words matter, especially in the context of parenting.

  • What Parents Should Know About 13 Reasons Why (2018)
    The third season of 13 Reasons Why was recently released on Netflix. Does the drama’s explicit depictions of “real life” issues have something to offer today’s youth?

  • Focus on the Family | Facing Tragedy
    We want to help you with your grief, give parents tools to help their children cope, and show you how to help those in your community find a way to process what has happened.

    Free and premium resources available. "We are here to help you navigate today's culture and connect with your teen through meaningful conversations that last a lifetime."

  • Be Strong
    Be Strong is a non-profit empowering youth to prevent bullying, isolation and suicide. Read more and download the app at BeStrong.Global.

  • Diana S. Rice
    I'm so so sorry. This epidemic knows no bounds. I'm glad to have found more resources to share with caregivers of our youth. DBHS is suffering too from the 2 recent deaths in our community. Praying for yous. If there's anything I can do, please reach out.
  • Leendah Adaka
    Please let us know if they need meal donations or in any way we can help. God Bless.
  • Ann Marie Kinahan
    My heart hurts so badly for Colin, The Happ family, his friends, and CCA community. I don’t have the words to express how very sorry I am for this senseless loss. I just want to help whoever I can, however I can. If the family is looking for donations, people to organize meals for the family and/or cook, child care, anything at all, please please please reach out to me and I will help however I can. Praying for Colin and the people in his life. Hug your loved ones a little longer and harder tonight. ??

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