I know this won't help much but I kind of remember him mentioning that it was hard because they were students in his school too and they were part of the senior class, he did mention he felt awful for the class of 1999 since they just kind of left... and were not part of the community after, so no one was really there for them. I am paraphrasing.
"And you know, you know, you know, this can be beautiful, you say you're numb inside, but I can't agree. So the world's unfair, keep it locked out there. In here it's beautiful."