At Campion Academy, many of our students and staff are grieving the loss of their friend Timothy. Not only that, but teenagers in general are increasingly struggling with depression, anxiety, and social disconnection. We all want to help uplift our friends in challenging situations, but sometimes we don’t know what to say or what to do for our friends who are going through a crisis of grief or mental health.
Sandy Eickmann, Licensed Professional Counselor, has been volunteering at Campion as a grief counselor over the past few weeks. She shared some important ways that we can support our friends at this time.
1. Listen to them and validate their feelings
“Listening is probably the most important thing you can do,” reflected Mrs. Eickmann. Pay attention to what your friends are going through. “It’s nice to just be there, sit with them and listen. The times in my life where I grieved the most, I don’t remember anything anybody said to encourage me. I do remember some people that cried with me.”
2. Ask what they need and be specific
It is important to know that everyone is different, and each individual needs different support or help. Instead of assuming what they want, ask them specifically what they need. Mrs. Eickmann shared, “If you think you have something that would be meaningful, just ask them if that would be helpful.”
However, Mrs. Eickmann advised, “The questions ‘What do you need?’ or ‘How can I help?’ can often feel too vague and difficult to answer. Sometimes people don’t have a clue what they might need, or they don’t want to ask you because they don’t want to burden you. So, it helps to come up with something specific.”
3. Check in with them
You can remind them that you care by keeping in touch and asking how they are doing. However, for some people, it can be dangerous to overcheck them and not give them space when they need it. “It’s ok to get feedback from people, to say ‘Would you like me to give you a call tomorrow?’ or ‘Do you want to come and hang out with me for a while?’ to see what they want while giving them an option,” said Mrs. Eickmann.
At the same time, she continued, “It needs to come as ‘Do you want to talk about it?’, not as ‘Let’s talk about it,’ or ‘I want to hear about it,’ because some people are not ready to talk about it. Pushing them to talk about it can actually be a problem.”
4. Give them time and freedom
“It’s a process to grieve. It’s important to give them some freedom so that they have some sense of control,” mentioned Mrs. Eickmann. Some people might need their time alone, while others don’t. Know that each individual takes their own time to process. It’s important to think about what you would need if you were in their circumstance.
5. Know that not everyone has the same way to solve problems
Each person will have different reactions to coping with emotional stress. “It’s really important for people to realize and identify what the person is going through,” said Mrs. Eickmann.
Some people take more time than others to overcome their challenges. “It’s very human to compare yourself and someone else, because we do have a lot of things in common, but then there are always those little things that we don’t know about, so we need to be very open-handed,” explained Mrs. Eickmann. You might hurt people’s feelings by telling them about your similar situation from the past when you actually meant to encourage them. Everyone is different and has different ways to grieve.
Airi Nomura, Student News Team
Brisa shares why she decided to return to Campion after leaving for a semester during her sophomore year. Now as a senior and student chaplain, she reflects on how God was guiding through her journey.
The Campion Academy family is mourning the loss of a student. Timothy Dien passed away from unexpected and unknown causes on Friday, January 7, 2022.
Campion Academy is in contact with the family as we seek to support them through their tremendous loss. The family is working with Campion on plans for a memorial service. A GoFundMe account has been established to help support the family through the unexpected funeral costs and can be found at gofund.me/bf2b8663.
Campion students and staff spent Sabbath School class on Saturday, as well as additional time in the afternoon, coming together to pray with each other and for the Dien family. Counselors were made available to students during these times. Special prayer times have been scheduled throughout the week, as well as continued access to counselors, to help the students and staff process this loss.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this loss,” shares principal Donavan Reeder. “Timothy was a beloved member of our student body. His loss leaves a big hole in our hearts. We ask for your prayers as we seek to support the Dien family and our Campion students and staff.”
The cause of death remains unknown. Timothy was found unresponsive in his bed in the men’s residence hall. Emergency life-saving procedures were immediately attempted by the dean on duty. However, when paramedics arrived on the scene, he was pronounced deceased.
On Friday morning, he attended breakfast, where he was greeted by fellow students. He did not report any illness to staff. An accountability room check was administered in the evening due to his absence. However, when he was checked on at bedtime, he was found unresponsive. There was no apparent sign of self harm or foul play. The autopsy report is pending, though it typically takes up to six weeks to process.
Timothy, who was in his eleventh year of school, is remembered by his teachers and fellow students as kind and tender-hearted, with a willingness to encourage others. He was a gifted student, exhibiting dedication towards his studies. His sister, Tiffany, graduated from Campion in 2021.
“Our hearts break for the sudden loss of Timothy,” shares Rocky Mountain Conference Education Department Superintendent Diane Harris. “We pray that his family and friends are enveloped by the comfort of God’s presence.”
Details on a memorial service will be shared on Campion’s website and social media as the information becomes available.
We unexpectedly lost Timothy Dien, our friend, classmate, and student, on Friday, January 7, 2022.
Students and staff shared cherished memories of their time with Timothy and the impact he had on their lives.
“Timothy was the kind of person who was a silent leader. He was also someone who wouldn’t want to be in the spotlight. But once you got to know him, he was the most caring, funny, and selfless person. He would do anything to help others. I remember him making me laugh in PE class because we didn’t want to run and always complained about it. He always knew how to make people feel better. Even though he’s not with us here on Earth, I know that we will all keep him in our hearts and see him again in Heaven.” - Blessing Simamora
“The most memorable moments I have with Timothy I will forever cherish; from our afternoon soccer games to our stressful late study nights, Timothy was always there for me, and I’ll never forget the times we had together.” - Geraldy Marvel
“If we’re being honest, anyone who knew Timothy knew that he wasn’t the most fond of me because I always made him uncomfortable with my jokes. Although, in a way, those jokes made us kind of close. He was honestly a selfless person, and he was always humble. He was smart and sometimes quietly competitive. I sat next to him in AmLit and whenever his answer made it onto the TV screen, he always made sure that I knew because he wanted to compete with our answers to see who had a better one that pertained to the question. All in all, he was an intelligent guy that was a good friend with good morals. I’m gonna miss him.” - Melody Mambo
“Most of my memories with him are when I was in his room doing homework, hanging out, and playing sports with him. He was always willing to help me back into the dorm when I forgot my keycard inside. He was a very intelligent person and had an elite sense of humor. ” - Preston Sturges
“A great memory I had with Timothy, my last in person interaction with him, was just last month while taking him home from church. We were teasing him about having a girlfriend and giving him advice on updating his style. If you knew Timothy his go-to outfit was his gray zip up, cargo shorts, and his Nikes. And although we gave him so many options, he surprised me by saying ‘Nah, I don’t wanna change myself for anyone.’ Timothy was humble when it came to friends, education, and even simple clothes. It makes me want to become more comfortable with myself. Timothy didn’t worry about what others thought of him. And that's something we all could learn. I’m forever grateful my last memory with Timothy was a joyful one. I can’t wait to see him again.” -Abby Waworoendeng
From staff members:
“It was an honor to have been Timothy's Bible teacher. While 7:00 a.m. is an early start time for school, Timothy brought a consistent calm to the room. During our discussions in class, he would always have a wise answer to share. He had knowledge beyond his years, and was well versed concerning the Bible. Within one of his assignments, he had chosen the following as verses which resonated with him, and brought him reassurance and comfort: Joshua 1:9, Jeremiah 31:3, and Nahum 1:7. May these bring us comfort as well, as we hold onto our memories of Timothy and the hope of our Lord's return.” - Nancy Meszaros
"Tim was a quiet scholar. He was in my physics and pre-calc classes. These are hard classes. He never seemed stressed but just kept up a steady pace. Tim was a willing and helpful partner in the labs. In the evenings he worked as a tutor in the dorm for any students who were falling behind. Students appreciated his help in their schoolwork. Tim’s absence leaves a large hole in our hearts and school." - Kent Kast
"Timothy was a good student in my class. He did more than well. He was independent and got his work done. He also achieved the highest typing speed of any student that I have had in class typing 128 words per minute on the typing speed test we had in November. We will miss Timothy and his talent." - Steve Eickmann
“I hadn’t known Timothy for long, but I was privileged to be his teacher for a semester. He was an exceptional student who worked hard and was high achieving. Some qualities I noticed was that even though he was quiet, he was a good influence and a great listener. He led by example rather than words. He was respectful, kind and patient. He often tutored his classmates who needed help, and he was well loved by them for that. He could take a joke and was bashful, but that made for some fun moments in class. I wish I could have taught him more. He was a rare student and one who challenged me to be a better teacher. To all of Timothy’s friends, I know you will feel his loss in your lives. I want to send my love and prayers to all of you and to his family.” - Erin Johnson
After an accident left her hand damaged, Kylie wondered if she would ever play instruments again. In this video, Kylie shares the huge impact music has had on her life, and how being apart of Campion's music teams have brought her closer to Christ. Video by Hyacinth Cookenmaster and Jacqueline Kobagaya.