Middleton High School Perseveres Through a Tremendous Loss


Meghan Frantz (@16flicks_ on Instagram)

Students dressed in red at the boys varsity soccer game on Oct. 5 with a banner dedicated to Jack Miller, Evan Kratochwill, and Simon Bilessi.

Madison La Crosse

On the night of Oct. 2, 2021, a tragic accident resulting in the death of three high school seniors shook the entire Middleton community. Jack Miller, Evan Kratochwill, and Simon Bilessi brought love, joy and light to everything they did and everyone they knew. 

The news of their passing came to MHS students and staff the day before the school’s homecoming week. Since that day, Middleton High School and the Middleton community came together to grieve the loss of the boys. Although the event is heartbreaking, students and staff have found ways to remember the boys for years to come and have made each day a celebration of their lives as opposed to staying mournful. 

The week following the accident was in all ways dedicated to the boys. On Sun, Oct. 3, students held a vigil at the football stadium to support one another in a time of loss. Every student held a lit candle in honor of the boys, while three lanterns were set off into the sky for each one. Students had the chance to lean on one another while sharing memories of the three and could find joy on such a difficult day. 

On Tues, Oct. 5, the boys’ varsity soccer team hosted a home game with a “red out” theme in honor of the boys’ favorite color. Simon and Jack both played soccer, so the loss was an especially heavy blow to the MHS boys’ soccer program. The home game had record spectator turnout, the stands pooling over with red. The team honored the boys in many ways throughout the game. Some ways they did this were through a full stadium moment of silence and t-shirts worn by the team in dedication to the boys before the game. 

Evan was a part of the MHS Cross Country team, so those also part of the team were hit very heavily. In Evan’s honor, about 20 athletes ran his personal 5k record at the Wisconsin Lutheran Invite race on Thurs, Oct.14. They all crossed the last 100 meters together for him. 

The boys’ varsity soccer team stands together in a moment of silence before game time, wearing shirts that say “For You 3” on the back. (Meghan Frantz (@16flicks_ on Instagram))

Throughout the rest of the homecoming week, although the original dress-up themes were cancelled, students organized to change the themes to commemorate the loss. Students wore flannels on Thursday for Evan, who was often seen wearing flannels, and Jerseys on Friday for Jack, who was a big fan of any type of sports jersey, especially hockey. The theme for the homecoming football game changed from school spirit to seniors wearing jerseys, at the Miller family’s request, and blackout for the remainder of the student body, and the game began with a moment of silence. 

At the actual homecoming dance, a majority of the music was played in ode to the three boys. The week leading up to the dance, seniors who knew the boys well put together a playlist of the three’s favorite songs, and student DJ Colin Keenan played these songs as opposed to a regular homecoming set. 

The following week, seniors all wore memorial shirts given out by the school on Wed., Oct. 13 in honor of Simon, as his soccer jersey number was thirteen. The rest of the school dressed up in all black.

While Middleton will continue to grieve this tragedy for a long time, the events of the past weeks have helped Middleton to come together to celebrate the memory of three people who have had such a positive impact on their community.

“Nearly 20 cardinals ran near Evan’s 5K PR of 19:43 tonight at the Wisconsin Lutheran Invite. This picture is from the final 100 meters of the race #werunforevan,” says the Middleton Miles Project. (@middletonmilesproject on Instagram)