Mackenzie Sprecher ‘16 Student Life Editor, Cheyenne Kennard ‘15, Azja Stroud ‘16, Taylor Mueller ‘16, Alexandra Giordano ‘16, Megan Vandeberghe ‘16 –

On August 11th of this past summer, the world lost a true legend. Robin Williams, a beloved actor, comedian, and friend to all, took his own life in his California home. Williams was an inspiration not only to aspiring actors and actresses with a comedic flair, but to anyone who ever experienced the pleasure of smiling through his films. Williams’ death invoked an overwhelming sense of mourning among fans young and old due to his premature passing. The students and teachers of Romeo express their grief and share treasured memories as Romeo News remembers this brilliant man; one who placed a lasting handprint on hearts across all generations.

It may seem as though the current generation doesn’t hold enough reason to be grief stricken as their parents or older family members, but that doesn’t carry much truth. Students remember Williams in many playful roles such as Mrs. Doubtfire, The Genie in Aladdin, and Peter Pan in Hook. Olivia Belfie ‘15 is one of many who looked up to Williams as a mentor; respecting his work among others who feel the same.

“I found out at theatre camp, it was in Canada so we found out a day later. We all had a moment of silence for him. It was just a shock to know that he died, and it was a shock knowing that he was a comedian and always seemed so happy, but died because he was so sad. It was sad,” Belfie said. “My favorite memory of him will always be Mrs. Doubtfire.”

Growing up watching Jumanji, Hook, Aladdin and other family favorites not only brought laughter to the children of the twenty-first century, but also inspiration; Williams created and shaped a unique, spirited energy which presented itself in his work. Student Morgan Delia ‘16 was left speechless when she heard the news of his passing.

“So many grew up watching his movies, he was able to bring people back to a time when life was easy and carefree. He wasn’t like every other entertainer, he left a lasting impact on those who watched him. He was hard to forget,” Delia said.

Student David Andrews ‘16 also shared his thoughts on the tragic loss. “Robin Williams was a comedic genius; he could perfectly blend humor with life lessons in a witty, heartwarming way. He was also a prime example of someone who puts others before himself, masking his inner problems from the world with the ability to make people laugh,” Andrews said.

Despite his decades of entertaining, Williams was able to touch every life he came in contact with. While fans among younger generations mourn the actor’s loss, adults who have been enjoying his work for nearly four decades are affected just the same, perhaps even more.

Rich Boggio reflects on not only Williams’ work, but his overall influential and inspirational life.

“When I first heard the unfortunate news I was surprised mostly because he was so hilarious and versatile,” Boggio said. Many admirers say the same of this beloved entertainer. Plain and simple, Robin Williams has brought delight and bliss to the lives of his supporters all around the world. From Aladdin to Birdcage, Good Morning Vietnam to Dead Poet’s Society, the comedic community watched his talents blossom and smiled with him all the way.

“There is no doubt that he has brought joy to my life,” Boggio said.

Despite the tragedy of his death, William’s life should be remembered.

“He just made everyone laugh and smile all the time,” Jeff Hinkle said.

Williams’ left a lasting effect on the world; his life conveyed motivational messages to everyone who knew his story. While struggling with alcoholism and depression, he expressed perseverance and hope through his incredible love for comedy, happiness, and laughter. Even his passing seemed to bear a significant truth: It’s not always easy to be known and admired by many. In addition to the inspiration and wisdom he added to the world, Williams never failed to entertain.

When asked what his favorite movie Williams starred in was, teacher Scott Lamb replied “I’m not sure. He made a lot of great movies. I think Mrs. Doubtfire…Mrs. Doubtfire was just funny and I think a lot of people can relate to his character.”

The loss of Robin Williams reminds us of how grave and dangerous—yet inadvertently masked and hidden—mental illness can be. Someone who presents themselves as charitable and happy might still fight battles against their inner demons behind closed doors. Mental illness is often overlooked in society, but it’s proving deadly. Depression and anxiety are prevailing illnesses in the United States, but are often ignored among teenagers and young adults. Although mental illness is highly genetic, anyone and everyone is susceptible to these diseases. Social withdrawal, insomnia, overall disinterest, crying spells, and dramatic mood swings are common red flags of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. According to teenhelp.com, 20% of teenagers will experience a form of depression before their eighteenth birthday and only 5% of them will be treated. Suicide is never the only remaining option. If someone you know is battling mental illness reach out; help. It always gets better.

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