SMITHS STATION, Ala. (WTVM) - Signs of hope popped up across Smiths Station overnight, but many people are wondering who is responsible.
Seniors at Smiths Station High School are the people behind the signs with the goal of leaving a lasting message with their community.
“We’re doing something I think needed to be done,” Smiths Station High School senior Faith Rudolph said, “something that was a positive message, something that will bring light to the darkness that was covering Smiths Station for a while.”
‘You Matter.’ ‘You are worthy of love.’ ‘Your mistakes do not define you.’ are just some of the messages depicted on the signs.
Two Smiths Station High School students took their lives this year, leaving the small knit community grieving and in search of answers.
September is also National Suicide Awareness Month.
“Every smile isn’t a happy smile," Renekia Mercer learned, "every laugh isn’t a happy laugh.”
The signs, originally put up in August, were taken down to pique the community’s interest. Friday morning, community members could see the signs once again as the sun rose.
“(Friday) marks 8 months, it’s been really hard," SSHS senior Haley Ritter said. "(L) did not seem one bit of unhappy, nothing.”
Smith Station High School Softball Coach Matt Stonbraker recalls the moment he heard about “L’s" passing. “Surreal,” he said. "There aren’t words, it was absolutely surreal.”
These students put their pain into progress, putting up signs to show their fellow classmates they are loved. They have also placed thousands of sticky notes across school grounds.
One mom caught the students putting up the first three signs and when the students explained the story, goosebumps and tears could not be held back.
“You know you never know what anybody is going through," Hull said, "and I guarantee everybody at some point has thought [about suicide].”
If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24-7 at 1 (800) 273-TALK.