It’s been more than a year since Dylan Buckner died, just months before graduating from high school. For his family, the pain is still very raw, but they continue to find ways to remember him in a positive way.
“If there can be something positive, if we can make changes, improvements so there’s less mental illness, less suicide,” said Chris Buckner, Dylan’s father.
Buckner was an honorary student and star strategist at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook. On January 7, 2021, he took his own life after battling depression. The family believes its problems have worsened significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.
Months after his death, the family decided to create the Dylan Buckner Foundation to honor him. Because of this, they have offered scholarships to graduating seniors from Glenbrook North High School, in the hopes of raising awareness about mental health. The most recent scholarship was awarded this week to Abby Schyman, a 2022 GBN graduate.
“I’m so honored to have been given it,” said Schyman, who will attend the University of Miami in Florida in the fall. “It’s bittersweet. Great that they’re giving back to the community, that Glenbrook North High School is building a better community for mental health, but of course, at what cost?”
Glenbrook North alum Justin Breen worked with the Buckner family on this mission. He funded the $1,000 grant and named it the BrEpic Leadership Award.
“We wanted to make sure it was awarded to a graduating Glenbrook North Senior, where he went to school,” Breen said. “The student had to be an advocate to raise awareness for mental health.”
Since the Buckner Foundation was founded, the family has awarded $41,000 in scholarships to Glenbrook North High School students, according to Chris Buckner. Some of the money comes from donations, but some also comes from Dylan Buckner’s savings.
“My wife felt very strongly about it,” Chris Buckner said.
It’s a mission that has grown amid tremendous grief, shedding light on sanity and ensuring Dylan Buckner is never forgotten.
“Dylan was a great person, he’s done a lot of great things,” said Chris Buckner. “A lot of people remind us of that ever since he died. I don’t want to hide him or ever be ashamed of him… I don’t want to forget, Dylan. I want to remember Dylan,” said Mr. Buckner.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK at 741741, or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.