This article originally appeared in the Gordie Center's 2018 print publication.
Anne Bailey of Covington, Louisiana, was curious about her high-school-aged son's online presence, so she Googled his name: Gordon Bailey. The search results sent her to gordie.org, where she learned the story of a boy who shares her son's name and his lasting legacy through the Gordie Center's national efforts to end hazing and substance misuse among college and high school students.
"Seeing the smiling face of Gordie and then reading his tragic story brought me to tears and resonated with me. Our Gordon was a high school senior at the time, and he was getting ready to go off to college. I knew that, sooner or later, he would have to face the challenges of college drinking and the peer pressure that goes with it," Anne remembers.
As her son Gordon tells it, Anne and her husband Glyn watched the Gordie Center film HAZE, and then spoke to Gordon about what happened to Gordie...and convinced him to watch the film before leaving for college.
"HAZE is very powerful, and we feel strongly that it should be mandatory viewing for all incoming students at universities across the country. If seeing this movie helps to save just one life, then it's worthwhile. Hazing is a dangerous, needless, and pointless relic of a not-so-enlightened past and it should be eliminated from the college culture nationwide," Anne and Glyn say.
When Gordon came to the University of Virginia as a student, he reached out to the Gordie Center to become a volunteer. Gordon has used his filming and editing talents to help the Gordie Center create video content for our website, including our GivingToHoosDay videos for the last two years (available on the Gordie Center YouTube channel).
In addition to Gordon's volunteer work, Gordon's parents are committed to supporting the Gordie Center after that chance discovery of our work through Anne's Google search. "Imagining the pain that Gordie's family went through and not wanting this type of tragedy to happen to another young person and his or her family motivates us to support the Gordie Center. More needs to be done to educate students about the dangers of hazing and excessive drinking. The Gordie Center needs everyone's help in order to acquire the resources to reach more students. One death is one too many and as long as the hazing culture is tolerated, there will be a need for the Gordie Center."
Gordon will graduate from the University of Virginia in the spring of 2019, and his younger sister Annabel will be enrolling at Southern Methodist University this fall. The work of the Gordie Center remains very important to the Bailey family as they send off another child to college.
"These types of senseless tragedies will continue without intervention and education from organizations such as the Gordie Center. Gordie's life will not have been in vain if his story helps save the lives of other young students. In a very small way -- our involvement in the Gordie Center makes us feel that we are honoring Gordie's life and helping save the lives of students in the future."