One of my students died last night.
Willem was an 18 year old kid who was unfailingly polite with a moppy blond afro that belied his brave, goofy spirit. He died from an accident in his home. It wasn’t a suicide.
He was set to give a persuasive speech about the effects of outsourcing for my current affairs class. Knowing him, it would have been idealistic, while at the same time a bit cynical and frank. Willem was still working out a worldview for himself, like most high school seniors are. I’ll miss getting to hear his thoughts.
My favorite memory of him was a couple years ago when my school reserved a section at a Twins game so students and staff could go together. Willem was from the Netherlands, and had only been in the States for a couple months, so he was totally lost watching baseball. I got to sit by him and explain balls and strikes and the rules of the game to him until he left during the 7th. It was a fun night for me. The next day, he asked, “Who won the match, Mr. Welle?”. I told him, “They’re called games, Willem, and the Twins lost, so you should act more bummed out.”
I’ve been thinking about that night a lot this morning.
If you think of it today, pray for Willem’s family and friends, that they can make some sense out of this.