To the 2016 graduating class of Clinton High school...
William Scott Coleman or Whale Coolman as many of you knew him, was brought into a world with creativity in abundance and in nature’s beauty surrounded by guiltless humor, boundless love and extensive family. He was the quiet voice in his mother’s garden, the legs wrapped around his dad’s broad shoulders, the King of all stuffed animals and the gentle soul that affirmed all was well in this world. Will possessed a memorable smirk that never changed since day one, you could spot his brilliant smile out of a crowd, a bottom lipped grin…just like his dad and his Grandpa Hooson and they seemed to be hiding something from the rest of us. In Will’s case it was an active, insightful, technical mind that was wise and profound beyond his 17 years. Will was growing into a young man who spoke louder in action than in speech. Giving lunch money to those who had fallen short, befriending the new girl, and mischievously sneaking smiles out of every passersby, something we all have been witness to. Will showcased his brilliance in a supportive and motivated group of high school students at BOCES. It was there that he knew his passion was in cyber security. He was an unapologetic geek in every sense of the word. I believe he was going to change the world, for his brain both intimidated and fascinated me. His ability to impact this world has not changed, only his form has. It is through you he is channeled now. The students he spent his 4 years of high school with are the ones that know his multifaceted being the best…his rare compassionate heart and witty sarcastic humor became a part of your daily lives. Whether it was a cruise down the hallway, 7-11 pit stops for junk food, 2 a.m. phone calls indulging in both your fears and your dreams or hunched over a computer as Will taught other students with mature patience, it is clear he left a powerful impact on the class of 2016.
There is an undeniable love in this group of students, teachers and parents. A love that Will took part in, a love and bond that will continue as you navigate your direction from this momentous day forward. Please remember to carry Will’s wishes with you, it may be traveling abroad, college classes, falling in love, crossing over bridges and under archways…from the beginning of a career to the budding of inspiration. Will’s family would like to give you each a small card with Will’s photo to take with you. Inspired by Flat Stanley, she asks that you continue to share your experiences by placing this card in the many discoveries you each stumble upon. Take a picture and please share it. The family of Will gained 125 kids through this indescribable loss and each one of you means the world to them. This small gesture is a part of the healing process for them and, I believe, for each of you. Life brings hard lessons; some so final it can break a thousand hearts and stop the hands of time. So when you find yourself lost, weak, angry or broken, please look inside yourself, know you are not alone, stand a little taller, and through an upward grin, say aloud, “I will.”
Today marks the day of your successes, your collaborative efforts with one another and the grand opening of your life’s next adventure. Will Coleman is with each of you. He always was and he always will be. Carry his humor and empathy on one shoulder, his intellect and passion on the other…with this you are ready for anything. Congratulations.
“If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses, and all prejudice against my fellowmen. Give my soul to God. If by chance you wish to remember me, do it with a kind word or deed to someone who needs you. If you do this, I will live forever.”