Sehome mourns loss of graduate, Marcus Poulos

Linnea DeVange and Alec McGreevy

Marcus Poulos, a Sehome alumni, passed away in late August at age 19. Poulos graduated in 2018 and continues to be renowned for his creation of “Animal Jam” events. People who knew him well referred to him as kind, positive, and generous. 

“I had him in band and he was just the nicest person,” said Mr. Snyder, Sehome band instructor. “He always had something nice to say and just always had a positive influence on the people around him.” Snyder continued, “He was somebody who after he got out of school I’d enjoy hanging out with. You can’t say that about every student.”

Adrian van’t Hoog (12), who was neighbors with Poulos, also pointed out Poulos’ remarkable positivity. “Growing up, he was always extremely positive,” van’t Hoog said, “As we got older, he got super into DJing. I was really interested in music too, and he actually gave me a DJ mixing board. He was an extremely generous, extremely knowledgeable, and talented dude.” 

Poulos was best known in the community for being the founder and DJ behind “Animal Jam”. Animal Jams were non-school affiliated, non-profit, student-run dances that provided an outlet for students to have fun outside of school jurisdiction. Over the course of a couple of years, the events raised thousands of dollars for various charities, including the Whatcom Humane Society, and grew to attract students from across the county and state. Poulos had a strong passion for music, specifically regarding DJ-ing. “His ability to dedicate himself to his music and then bring that art to other people was really incredible,” mentioned van’t Hoog.

Alec McGreevy (12) also admired Poulos’ musicianship and considered him to be a mentor. “Marcus first found me and took me under his wing when I was a freshman. I was pretty clueless as to how to function in the real world, but I had a lot of dreams, and he could see that. He gave me hand up when I didn’t know I needed one…had my back when I didn’t even have my own,” McGreevy wrote, “As a musician and frequent collaborator of Marcus’s, I can tell you first hand, that the amount of insight and energy he would bring to our writing sessions and performances was something magical. Everyone will always remember him for his music and his concerts, but I think it’s important that people know that he was so much more than just that. He was incredibly generous in sharing his knowledge and time with me, and I am forever grateful to have been able to call him one of my closest friends.”

Though Poulos used music to touch many people over the course of his life, he was more than just his legacy as a performer. “I feel like the main thing he is remembered for is his DJing, but in knowing him, he was such a complex, multifaceted individual. He wouldn’t say a lot, but he was just a fascinating person,” said van’t Hoog, “I think that though he had a lot of influence and knew a lot of people, there were only a few people who really knew him. It was an honor to have known him.”

Emily Newcomer, recent Sehome alumni, shares that same sense of honor. When asked to share a couple of words about Poulos, Newcomer wrote, “If I’m gonna be totally honest, I see Marcus as a god. He came into my life at my lowest point and was always there for me from then on, he took me on all the best adventures around Bellingham, made the best memories with me, played the best music, brought people together, changed our lives for the better, and then said peace. That’s the most godly thing I’ve ever seen.”

Andreas Lytle, Sehome 2018 graduate and Poulos’ closest friend, was also deeply impacted by knowing him.“Marcus was a very kind soul. He respected everyone and everyone respected him. I’m glad to have called Marcus my best friend for thirteen years. Through all those years I had never felt lonely because he was always by my side. I will be forever grateful for that,” wrote Lytle.

 Poulos’s girlfriend, Asia Verbrugge, mentioned his innate kindness as well. When asked to comment, Verbrugge wrote, “Marcus Poulos was someone who was quiet and gentle, but could bring everyone together and create extraordinary outcomes. He was someone who I could laugh, cry, and be myself with. He was someone that everyone was truly honored to know. He was a gentleman. He opened every door, walked on the roadside of the sidewalk, gifted me flowers, and did anything you asked of him with a smile. He made my life so much more beautiful and I had hoped he would continue making it beautiful for years to come. Just having the chance to know a human being like him was such a blessing, and losing him is just as much of a curse. I hoped to see him succeed in fulfilling all his dreams, dreams we’d discuss during late nights picking up snacks at Haggen or while watching sunsets on Chuckanut. Marcus really deserved all the beauty in the world, because that’s what he gave to every single person who knew him. There just aren’t enough words to express how beautiful of a soul he was.”

The Sehome & greater Bellingham community mourns the loss of a tremendous musician, student, and friend. His legacy and contributions to Sehome culture will not be forgotten.