Fargo fifth grader who died by suicide remembered at service

The Clara Barton-Hawthorne School neighborhood came to remember Nolan Wilson just days after he died by suicide. His family hopes the loss will mean more awareness about suicide prevention.

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Nolan Wilson's mother Shushanna Perez-Noriega hugs friends of her son at a special celebration of his life at Clara Barton Hawthorne Elementary School Friday evening, Feb. 10.
Ryan Longnecker / WDAY News

FARGO — It was an incredible show of support Friday, Feb. 10, for the family of 11-year-old Nolan Wilson.

All it took was a few moments inside the venue before it became clear it wasn't caterers or event planners helping get details ironed out for Nolan's celebration of life today.

"They are part of our everyday lives, and we are here for them," said Rachel Nelson, a member of the Clara Barton School staff.

They were teachers, Paras and staff of Nolan's much loved Clara Barton Elementary School. He meant that much to them all.

"As you hear, our theme is 'We're family,' and Nolan was part of our family, and so we just want to be here for Shushanna (and) for the boys. We loved Nolan," said Clara Barton Hawthorne principal Rebecca Folden.


As parents came in with their children, friends of Nolan, they all got their own rose. Many stopped to see this incredible healing board. Nolan's classmates writing notes to his mom. "I miss you" wrote one. "Where do I start," wrote another. "It's okay not to be okay," one classmate said. Clearly, they are hurting. They lost one of their own.

"I said to the kids, and they kind of stared at me, 'I don't care what you learn today. We're here just to love each other and get through the day.' Sometimes you got to put math and reading aside to show a different side, and kids need to see us hurting, and they need to see how we're dealing with things, and we need to be here for them. I said it was so good for me to be at school with the kids, because they gave me just as much as we were giving them," principal Folden said.

Six officers from the Fargo Police Department came to pay respects, and when Nolan's mother Shushanna came, it was Nolan's buddies from Clara Barton who came for the hugs.

It was a family, a school, a neighborhood and a community grieving the loss of an 11-year-old, whose suicide has shaken us all.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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