In Wake of Tragedy, Sussex Stays '#ZStrong'

Days after the death of Hamilton High senior Aaron Zagorski, friends and family from around the nation offered their condolences and words of support.

The new year started with tragedy for the Zagorski family and students at Hamilton High School.

Senior Aaron Zagorksi died on New Year's Day from a gunshot wound, and authorities do not suspect foul play. Students returned to school Wednesday to the difficult news.

Within a day, friends throughout Sussex, Menomonee Falls, and the rest of the country headed to social media outlets to share their condolences and offer words of support. Within a day, the hashtag "#ZStrong" was trending across the nation. Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings, Badgers running back James White, and many other notables tweeted their words of support for family and friends.

On Friday, students at Hamilton High wore red to honor their classmate. Patch has compiled some of the messages sent around the web about Aaron.

The family will receive relatives and friends during a service at 9 a.m. Jan. 5 at St. James Catholic Church in Menomonee Falls. A mass will follow at noon.

Please use the comments below to share your words of support for Aaron and the rest of the Zagorski family.

Jill January 04, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Thank you for covering this. This has been so important for the kids' healing.
Lil Bit January 04, 2013 at 07:16 PM
He killed himself?
kim a January 04, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I'm truly sorry for their loss such a hard way to start the new year off!
Krista January 04, 2013 at 09:23 PM
i know he died of a gunshot wound but how? do we know any other details?
debbra lander January 04, 2013 at 09:44 PM
My heart goes out to the family. It is heartbreaking!
emone420 January 04, 2013 at 10:24 PM
yes, he killed himself. I think it's unbelievably fantastic that my old high school has been getting noticed nationwide on social media sites, but we should also be speaking strongly about suicide prevention. after all, that was the cause of aaron's death, rest in peace. - student from the class of 2011
Billy Ricchio January 04, 2013 at 11:12 PM
does anyone know why he did it
Michelle January 04, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Aaron was well loved and he should be remembered for all he did for his friends and the community of Sussex not for how he died. He should be kept in our hearts. Wishing his family refuge in the Lord during this very difficult time.
Karen Buckley January 05, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Thank you Michelle, that is it. Remember that Aaron was a great kid. He babysat my son when our daughter could not. He would play nerf gun wars and even bring him dinner from where he worked. A beautiful soul, a wonderful friend.
Eileen Jerome January 05, 2013 at 02:47 AM
I was just informed of this by a friend who lives in your community. I am at a loss as to how express just how sorry I am for everyone involved. I will be keeping your entire community in my prayers.
J Mutch January 05, 2013 at 03:18 AM
Um, yea... "Remember him for all he did", "Remember Aaron was a great kid"... He DID take his own life! As emone420 pointed out, we NEED to speak STRONGLY about suicide prevention. Were there signs? If it was depression, WHY? How? He had a LOT going for him, FAR MORE than MOST 18yr olds or H.S. seniors... DON'T pretend ALL IS or WAS well, the gunshot WAS self inflicted... PAY ATTENTION, be there for someone who DOESN'T have as much going for them as Aaron did!!!
#ZStrong January 05, 2013 at 04:09 AM
We don't need to explain what happened exactly to prevent suicide.. You know he did it and that's all you need to know. This is the time you need to be supportive and not so selfish. Zstrong was started not only for Aaron but for suicide awareness as well. If we knew what he was feeling this never would have happened. So please just be respectful of his family right now and stop asking so many questions. He was an amazing kid. Always was and always will be.
lakecountrymom January 05, 2013 at 04:12 AM
@J Mutch~ Do you believe Aaron's death is any less tragic because you seem to think he had so much going for him? Depression is an illness and hits all kinds of people, whether they have everything "going for them" or not. Great kids hurt to, some of them just know how to cover it up. Aaron was a great kid, and the entire community is hurting please show some respect. RIP Aaron #Zstrong
J Rupnow January 05, 2013 at 04:22 AM
J Mutch shame on you. Because of ignorant people like you mental illness will never be looked at like the disease it is. Have some respect and class.
Kurt January 05, 2013 at 09:45 AM
Never saw this coming he was great teammate and he always had a smile and always had a great time in wrestling .. Gonna miss Aaron RIP Arron #11 #ZStrong
Kelly January 05, 2013 at 02:09 PM
My heart goes out to this child's family and friends. When I went to HHS we had 2 suicides. Both wonderful, bright young ladies. Depression is very real. It is much more common than people think. Do not think that you will always be able to pick a person out if a crowd that has this illness. It is not like the movies where they are in sweatpants and unkept. People are good at masking their feelings around others. And sadly, the more you do it, the easier it gets. It is a downward spiral. We need to get more education and resources out there in the schools and communities. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. You don't need a life changing event to bring it on. You can be any age and any gender. It could be hereditary, it may not. And just because you have depression does not necessarily mean that you want to take your own life. Although over time and untreated, it could lead to that. Please know that there is help out there. There are people who want to help. Even if you just need to talk, you can always go to a trusted friend, relative, or even your church. Getting help for yourself is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of respect and love for yourself. My prayers go out to everyone that is grieving.
Mike Anderson January 05, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Zegor was a great kid I knew from riding the bus to elementary school to being on the same wrestling team as him... It was a shock to wake up new years day and hear about such tragedy, one things for sure the world will not forget Aaron RIP #11 #ZStrong
moe seeneczko January 05, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Depression and anxiety are cousins. Both conditions can paralyze people of all ages and cause one to sink into darkness and despair. More often than not, the warning signs are not there. No one is to blame. Education on the symptoms of depression and anxiety and the available treatments will benefit everyone. Feelings of despair and darkness can happen to anyone at any point in their life. No one is immune to helplessness and hopelessness. Mental health should not be taken for granted. It is important to take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. God Bless the family and friends. You have our support and love as you journey this path of grief and healing. God bless you. We hold you up in prayer.
Amanda Emmer January 05, 2013 at 03:31 PM
I grew up with Aaron and his family. Our mothers are very close, both Ryan and Aaron are like little brothers to me. Aaron did not want to share his pain, he had many people who cared deeply for him and were more than willing to share the burden and lift it off his shoulders. Many of us sensed a darkness about him but no matter how hard we pressed he did not care to talk about himself, he only wanted to help others, make sure his friends and family that he loved so much were OK, as he once told me he only shares his experiences if it helps bring knowledge to someone else's situation. Aaron was a wonderful man in a boy's body, he always wanted to be recognized as an adult and he played the role well with his adult humor and wise words. I will never forget his beautiful soul. He touched the lives of many and quite possibly changed the world in his own way no matter how small. As has already been said, this tragedy is no one's fault. Aaron made this choice for himself, ridden with a disorder that haunts many lives, myself included. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and look at all the people standing behind us supporting us. I'm sure Aaron is looking down on everyone gathered for him with much gratitude and remorse. He will be here for all of us eternally. I love you Aaron.
Alyssa zillmer January 05, 2013 at 04:25 PM
I didn't know Aaron that well but no one should be talking about how it happened and if it was depression because right now people are suffering about his loss and truly miss him. There is no need for this. And maybe some people don't want to know why or how because maybe they just want to remember Aaron by how he was and who he was not by how he died. I saw he wrestle and he was darn good at it he was a very good kid and was nice to everyone! #ZStrong
Sofia Reino January 05, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Amanda, Very well written. I live in Sussex but never met Aaron. Do know many who were very close to him. Wish I would have met him as he really touched many lives with his beautiful personality. Will do all to keep his memory alive. #ZStrong.
Jennifer Southern January 06, 2013 at 04:27 AM
I just want to say that Aaron touched many lives as a mother of 2 boys Arron touched many lives from what my oldest son has said. A close friend of mines said the same her son knew him also and said he was a well liked and very important kid. He noticed many giving a great speech to the toms bulldogs football team! So said. We will never know why we should just remember who he was and all the lives he touched. Which is many!!! Going to the same high school and having 2 great people do the same thing just different ways it doesn't matter why. It just matters who they were and how much they were loved! My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
anonymous January 07, 2013 at 12:41 PM
i didnt know aaron but i know his mother, suicide is a tragedy for anyone involved and it changes you forever.... i had lost someone dear to me due to suicide and people that have negative comments need to get educated. my heart goes out to the family...... rip aaron, zstrong
peggy Houlton January 08, 2013 at 05:31 AM
Thoughts and prayers to Aaron and his family and friends... I deal with mental illness and its real and so thought less of and such negative stigma attached to it that when in the thick of it you want hide and not say how your feeling for this very reason!! Im greatful to be well connected and ok with who I am and shair anytime I have they chance how I am no longer ashamed of it to help the person who still is. I know its just like any other illness I would need meds for. I also have a heavy heart because I have 2 brothers that have taken there lives less then a year apart. I feel its my part to be there anytime I can to shair my story of pain,loss,confussing,and shock I have ever been through. Today my part is to shair how I go on with my life and honor them both. They were both great men but just did not beleave they were.
BW January 20, 2013 at 09:26 PM
very well said!!!!!!!! doesn't matter how he did it! his family and friends lost a great young man!!!!!! questions like that make me think you have no respect for his family! RIP Aaron


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