Memorial held for IHS student

March 9, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink




Nicholas W. Bethel

Nicholas W. Bethel, 17-year-old Issaquah High School student, died in Seattle March 3.

The cause and manner of his death are pending, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

A cause of death could be days, weeks or months away, depending on the additional laboratory tests needed to make that determination, officials at the Medical Examiner’s Office said.Those tests can include microbial, neurological and toxicology tests, officials said.

Bethel’s father called Issaquah High School officials March 3, after morning classes had started, said Karin Weihe, the high school’s resource officer.

No official announcement was made to students by school officials after Bethel’s father had told them of his son’s death, so the news passed through the student body by word of mouth, Weihe said.

“They tried to keep as much normalcy as they could,” she said. 

“Our entire campus is saddened by this loss of one of our students,” Principal Paula Phelps said. “It has become clear how many lives he impacted at Issaquah High. We are taking the time to ensure that all students and staff who need to grieve or remember their friend are able to do so in a safe environment with professional support.”  

As a school resource officer, Weihe said, she had no discipline issues with Bethel. 

Bethel’s friends said he loved to play baseball and that he had played on the school’s baseball team. 

He played on the school’s team as a freshman but hadn’t played since, Weihe said. 


On the Web

Go to and type “In Loving Memory of Nick Bethel” into the search box.


This note was sent to the school community via the district’s e-news system late March 3.


Dear Issaquah High Community:

We began our school day with the sad and unexpected news that one of our students died last night. The entire Issaquah High School community hurts from the loss. There is a chance your child will feel unsettled, at the least, tonight and in the coming days.

To prepare our campus for the impact of this sad news, we requested extra counseling support from nearby high schools and created a safe room where any student or staff member could go to process their feelings and receive help. We individually notified students and adults with close relationships with the student, and we alerted the entire staff via e-mail.

We will continue to have extra counseling support available, so please encourage any students who show signs of grief to visit the counseling center. A significant change in any of these physical or emotional behaviors might be an indication: Sadness, anger, irritability, anxiety, loneliness, numbness, indifference, detachment, listlessness, headaches, stomachaches, nausea and appetite.

Do not hesitate to call our counseling center at 837-6140 for guidance or more information – we want all of our students to have the support they need during this sorrowful time.

We want to respect the privacy and grieving process of the student’s family, and it is not in our purview to share details. Our thoughts are with them.


Paula Phelps

Principal, IHS



Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment on this article at

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2 Responses to “Memorial held for IHS student”

  1. Linda K Berge on March 11th, 2009 12:39 pm

    I just finished reading the article about Nick Bethel’s memorial. This well liked and loving student deserved much more than this very strange article…starting with the bold statements about the pending determination of this death. And then the very odd way the students were informed…by word of mouth student to student. Are you kidding me? Next we read he was not a discipline issue. Nick Bethel was a student at Issaquah High School. He was a friend to many of his classmates and should have his life and accomplishments celebrated…not that he hadn’t played on the high school baseball team since his freshman year. We as a community failed!

  2. issaquahindian7510 on April 30th, 2009 8:07 am

    he was a very nice guy and i’m still saddened by his death… Linda please understand this article was more of informing people what happened and who he was

    I KNOW him and i KNOW he loved baseball even though he didn’t play sophmore year everybody knew he still had a passion for it. you’d know if you saw his myspace profile.

    and t he fact that students were informed by eachother only furthers how much he mattered to everyone at IHS. the author brought up that he wasn’t disciplined because as a community were trying to emphasize how BIG of a loss he was and how he should be remembered as a good kid.

    As a community i don’t think we could have responded any better than the way we did, and the fine memorial we have given him. he will always be remembered. even 50 years from now in my world.

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