Death of a Classmate: Poems to Honor Deceased Students

Updated April 12, 2022
Sad young man being consoled by friends

The death of a classmate can be a traumatic experience for people of any age. Whether you were close friends or distant acquaintances, losing a classmate impacts everyone at the school. Poems can help sum up collective feelings following a death, create a feeling of community, and serve as meaningful memorials.

Our Angel in the Hall

By Mary White

Students who have lost a classmate to death may find comfort in Our Angel in the Hall, a short and reflective poem that expresses sadness at the loss, paired with a perspective on death that is grounded in faith.

I never knew there was an angel at my school, walking through the hall,
I'm sad that you aren't still here, but glad to know you're in heaven watching over us all.
I miss your smile, I miss being with you in class and on the playground in between,
My heart is sad, though I know you are still with us in spirit but unseen.

Forever See You There

By Mary White

The short poem Forever See You There can help students express the emotions they experience when a classmate passes away, leaving behind an empty chair in the classroom that serves as a daily visible reminder of the loss.

Young woman crying while looking away sitting with friend

Looking over at where you sat in class,
I can't believe that the last time I saw you there will really be the last.
The classroom seems so empty without you in that chair,
In my mind, I know that I will always see you there.
You will forever be missed; this group will never feel complete,
In my mind and in my heart, you'll always be right there in your seat.

Always With You

By Michele Meleen

Always With You is a re-imagining of Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye. It is appropriate for younger children who have suffered the death of a classmate.

Do not stand at my desk and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
I am the laughter filling these halls,
My spirit lingers in these walls.
I am the bell that rings each day,
My memory, a reminder that we still play.
I am the knowledge learned and gained,
A soul continuing each day, unchained.
When you enter school in the morning rush,
I am in the moment; a teacher says, "hush."
Do not loathe these days,
I am never very far away.

Feelings of Loss

By Michele Meleen

Feelings of Loss incorporates a simple rhyme scheme that's reminiscent of childhood songs.

Depressed teenage girl talking to friends at school

Hush dear friends, don't say a word.
Our classmate is gone and free like a bird.
Free to fly in the heavens above,
As a friend we'll always be thinking of.
He is gone from where we can see,
But in our hearts is where he'll always be.
Memories can never be taken away,
So we'll remember him when we learn and play.
Sadness, anger, and wondering why?
Are feelings that will make us cry.
But, our dear friend will help us grieve
Because his spirit will never leave.

Spiritual Superlatives

By Michele Meleen

For older kids, especially teens in high school, Spiritual Superlatives combines emotional support with some light humor.

Each year we vote on silly sayings,
Our claim to yearbook fame.
This year there is only one nominee
For every single category.
In your absence we will think of you:
As the Most Popular kid in school,
Because you will be on everyone's minds
As the Most Likely to Succeed,
Because you've touched all our hearts.
As the Most likely to Get Out of Here,
Because you've reached the final destination.
As the Most Spirited,
Because you rest in the spirit world.
When you were here, you had:
The Best Eyes
The Best Smile
The Best Personality
Without you, we will be:
The Most Likely to Miss a Friend
The Biggest Criers
The Most Likely to Feel Sadness
As the school year passes,
We will find some comfort in your memory
Because thoughts of our time together
Are the Best Memories anyone could have.

School Spirit

By Michele Meleen

Adults can use the nostalgic references in School Spirit to help cope with loss by focusing on fond memories.

Inquiring minds once filled these seats,
With a thirst for knowledge,
An attitude of excitement,
And a desire for answers.

Smiling faces once filled these halls,
With a thirst for friendship,
An attitude of confidence
And a desire to enjoy the moment.

Energetic bodies once filled these fields,
With a thirst for competition,
An attitude of confidence,
And a desire to enjoy the moment.

Today, these seats and halls and fields
Are filled with mourning hearts,
An attitude of disbelief,
And a desire for your presence.

Tomorrow, this school will be filled with pride.
Pride in having known your:
Thirst for knowledge, competition, and friendship,
Attitude of excitement, teamwork, and confidence,
And we'll be left with a desire
To enjoy the moments you were here.
These seats and halls and fields
Will always be filled with school pride;
A pride infused with the spirit of you.

Where to Share Poems About a Classmate's Death

Death of a classmate poems can be used in a variety of instances.

Row of people with hands folded standing together
  • Condolence message for the loss of a classmate
  • Conversations to explain death and dying to children who have lost a classmate
  • Yearbook dedication or memorial page
  • Touching wording in an obituary
  • Memorial plaque for a remembrance marker
  • Class reunion memorial display honoring deceased classmates
  • Funeral reading at the burial or memorial service
  • Printed on memorial apparel or gifts, such as candles and t-shirts
  • As a handout to help students deal with grief

Where to Find More Death of a Classmate Poems

Poems that are specific about the death of a classmate can be difficult to find. However, there are some meaningful options for young children and adults.

  • An Empty Chair by Jill Eisnaugle is popular for adults and was written to be used at a class reunion. It is also appropriate for other occasions.
  • Goodbye Poem by Donna Coleman is meant for the end of a school year, but could be used for very young children as a means to cope with the death of a classmate, because it incorporates pictures with familiar ways of saying "goodbye."

The relationship each person has with a classmate will be varied, so general poems about death are appropriate to use in the case of a classmate's death because they account for these relationship variances.

Pay Tribute to a Deceased Classmate With Healing Words

Writing or reading poetry about the feelings associated with death can be helpful in the grieving process. Children and adults may have to deal with the death of a classmate. In such a situation, occasion-specific poems and quotes about death can help everyone cope.

Death of a Classmate: Poems to Honor Deceased Students