Highlands classmate pens ‘Long Live E’ song for Elijah Bussotti
Highlands High School senior Jaylen Hayden wants his friend’s name to live on forever.
As he and classmates grieved over the loss of fellow senior Elijah Bussotti, who died as a result of a car crash, Hayden wrote a song.
“On Monday in school I just felt this vibe,” Hayden said. “Everybody’s head was down. Everybody was crying in the hallways. There was this silence. I started in homeroom and finished up the song in 7th period.
“I just wanted to bring people up.”
The song — “Long Live E” — will be sung during a memorial celebration of Eli’s life today at Duster Funeral Home in Tarentum. Hayden recorded the song, which was produced and posted to YouTube. It had more than 8,500 views as of this afternoon.
“We’ve just always been friends,” said Hayden, 17, of Tarentum.
The Highlands High School Honors Choir will perform songs in Eli’s honor at 6 p.m. Following the choir performance, the family is asking for any friends and family who would like to share stories or memories of Eli to do so at that time.
Eli died Sunday from injuries he suffered in a car accident Friday in Brackenridge.
Hayden’s song pays homage to the news that Eli, 17, donated his organs to at least eight people across the United States. Recipients include a 1-year-old boy who will get half of his liver and a 45-year-old man who will get his lungs.
“He gave his heart to a girl, now she can go and live her dreams, and gave his liver to a baby that don’t know anything,” Hayden sings in the song. “That’s a sacrifice … can only be compared to a king.”
Hayden played basketball with Bussotti in middle school and was friends with him throughout high school.
He said Bussotti was the class clown, always goofing around and playing tricks. He said no one will be able to take his place, a sentiment also reflected in the song.
“I mentioned jokes and games and he’s smiling down,” Hayden said. “He always had a smile on his face.”
Hayden said Eli’s death has brought the Highlands community together. He feels that his song is helping to bring everyone together, too.
“I want everybody to hear his name so his name can live on,” Hayden said. “Long live Eli.
“He did save … lives. We have to look at it like that, and not so much as he’s gone. He is a hero and I wanted people to know that.”
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions in Eli’s name be made to the Center for Organ Recovery and Education, 204 Sigma Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15238.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.