Sophomore Michelle Crispin told WCPO-TV, Kwadwo Boateng's suicide on August 25 came as a shock to the entire school.
"He was very positive and outgoing," said Crispin. "He always wanted to make people laugh; he always wanted to talk to everyone, no matter who it was."
She and a group of five friends - Anna Aronson, Erica English, Ellie Uematsu and Jessica Morse - wanted to do something to reach out to classmates who might be experiencing the feelings of hopelessness, isolation and sadness.
"Sometimes it can be really hard to fit in or feel like you are wanted at such a large school," said Erica English, another sophomore. "We all thought it would be a good idea to show everyone how they're needed and make everyone feel good."
Anna Aronson found the perfect idea on Pinterest.
The girls spent eight hours writing thousands of Post-It notes with encouraging messages and placed the sticky notes on over 3,600 of the high school's lockers. They also placed notes on teachers' doors and administrative staff members' desks.
It may have taken until 10pm.. But seeing everyone's face was worth it! I'm glad we got to put these up ily all :)) pic.twitter.com/Tp0eu1R1u9— Anna Aronson (@anna_aronson233) August 31, 2016
The following morning, smiles and tears filled the faces of students, teachers and staff who stumbled upon the surprise messages, according to MHS principal Dave Hyatt.
Mason City Schools shared several photos of their kind act on Facebook, which is gaining attention with more than 1,000 reactions, almost 200 shares, and dozens of comments. One read, "I absolutely love that you found a way to channel pain into hope and inspiration! You girls are amazing role models of goodness and love."