Memorial Yearbook Page

Warattaya Suppayosamorn, Reporter

To honor the memory of James Verhaeghe, friends from elementary and middle school put together a senior page for the 2016 West Anchorage High School Yearbook.

Funny, heartwarming, and very nice are the things that all friends remember about Verhaeghe. He was tall and had curly, long brown hair. He liked to wear dark clothing and was a big fan of rock and roll. Like any other boy, Verhaeghe loved music and video games.  He made many friends in his school years. Friends love him and wish he could attend West with them.

Verhaeghe went to Willow Crest Elementary and Romig Middle School. He played violin in the 6th grade and middle school. He graduated middle school in Spring 2012. Verhaeghe was really looking forward to hanging out with his friends at West. Unfortunately, an unexpected death took him in summer of 2012.

Kiana Petersen is a 12th grader and a senior editor of West Yearbook. She knew Verhaeghe since kindergarten and was friends with him for nine years before he passed away. She is responsible for taking photos from students, editing, and designing pages for the yearbook. Petersen started her own senior ad for Verhaeghe by gathering information, memories, and pictures of him from friends. “He was really looking forward to high school, so I thought it would be a very good idea to make a page that’s dedicated to him,” she said.

The following West students are contributing to build an ad for Verhaeghe: Kiana Peterson, Tonga Leakona, Sean Thompson, Cesar Quiroz, Samuel Prieto, Warattaya Suppayosamorn, Madai Soto, and Karl Hickel. These students were Verhaeghe’s close friends from elementary and/or middle school.

“He’s one of those kids that you can never find, again. Finding a friend like that happened rarely. We’re pretty lucky that we got to meet him,” said Tonga Leakona. Leakona is a senior at West. He was Verhaeghe’s best friend and went to Willow Crest with him since kindergarten. He supported the ad, thinking that it would be a good memento for family and friends to look back 10 years from now.

Sean Thompson is excited to honor Verhaeghe’s memory by contributing to the ad. He thinks the ad is a very good idea to give Verhaeghe a tribute and support his family. Thompson was Verhaeghe’s best friend in Romig and knew him three years before he passed away. He said that Verhaeghe would have been a very prominent member of West. He and his friends are buying a copy of the yearbook for Verhaeghe’s mother, Daisy. “It will have a very nice impact for Daisy… We want to give something to her, and I think she’s going to take that and cherish that,” he said.

An ad page of West Yearbook cost $325. Because of the ridiculously high price, few students are putting money together to aid its cost.