Home > Data, Education > Dante’s Inferno Meets Hidden Lake’s Inferno

Dante’s Inferno Meets Hidden Lake’s Inferno

The students in Zoe Driver’s class read Dante’s “Inferno” last hexter and each had to do a project defining their own Hell. White posters with red and black flames licking the corners still hang from the classroom’s ceiling. Many are similar, but none are the same. 

The students’ layer of Hell are the Drama Queens, the Homeless and the Nobodies. They are the Greedy, the Worthless and the Weak. 

The Traffickers. 

The Murderers. 

And the Suicidal. 

They are the Lustful, the Lier’s and the Nobody’s.

They are Animal Abusers.


I’m intrigued by the amount of pain and depth the posters contain. The traffickers? The suicidal? Have these students had first-hand experience with these layers of hell?

Who are the nobodies? Why the homeless?

I don’t actually have answers to these questions, because the students have moved onto new projects. 


But here’s what I learned from doing some outside research.

According to the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention’s 2009-10 annual report:

– Colorado has the six highest suicide rate in the country
– Among 10 to 34 year-olds, suicide was the second leading cause of death
– In 2009, 940 Coloradans committed suicide, the largest single-year total in the state’s history 
– The suicide rate in 2009 was the highest since 1988

To put this in context, there were 553 motor vehicle deaths in 2009.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment there were:

–  73 suicide deaths in Adams County in 2009
–  26 homicides in Adams County in 2009


All of this makes me wonder … how does suicide among young adults/teens affect education? Their future and their own families?

The American Association of Suicidology estimates that for every suicide there are six survivors. A survivor of suicide is a “family member or friend of a person who died by suicide.”

That means that there were an estimated 438 new survivors of suicide [73 x 6] in Adams County in 2009 alone. 


I am not drawing any direct connections between suicide, Westminster or Hidden Lake High School. I simply want to note that suicide rates in Colorado are high and that some students at Hidden Lake have identified the term and the act as “hellish.”

Categories: Data, Education
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