'You are enough’
By Annette Tait
It started out like any typical presentation for Center-Stanton High School students. Until Siam Simpfenderfer dropped a verbal bomb.
The CSHS alumna and current Miss North Dakota International began by asking two volunteers to share three facts about themselves. A common icebreaker, no surprises.
Then Simpfenderfer shared three facts about herself. The first two -- having dual citizenship in the U.S. and Thailand, and never having eaten a Dairy Queen Blizzard -- didn’t get much reaction.
It was the final fact that drew complete silence.
“My mom took her own life when I was five years old.”
Already an experienced speaker and advocate for suicide prevention and helping to remove the stigma for survivors, Simpfenderfer knew exactly what to expect.
“How many people were uncomfortable with that?” she asked. “Didn’t know how to react?”
Simpfenderfer herself didn’t know how to react when she finally learned the truth.
“I remember everything about the day [it happened],” she told the students, relating the story of how she’d received a purple bible at church, and was excited to go to her cousins’ farm.
At the time, she’d acted as any five-year-old would, excited for a visit with cousins and a sleepover.
“She tried to sit me down [to talk with her], but I wouldn’t listen -- I was just a brat,” Simpfenderfer said. “She asked me about my purple bible.