Science Leadership Academy lost Class of 2011 alumnus Brandon Williams today. Brandon battled sickle cell his entire life, and today, he ran out of time in that fight.
Brandon was an amazing young man. He was an incredibly deep thinker who could galvanize a classroom with his ideas. He was a wonderful athlete who was captain of our baseball team. He was a beautiful musician who loved nothing more than to share his gift on the piano with others.
Brandon was such a valued member of the SLA community, both during his time in school and after. He came back to school as our assistant baseball coach, and he freely gave of his time, mentoring current students who also suffer from sickle cell.
And my God, was Brandon tough. When I say that he battled, he fought so hard. He pitched for SLA’s baseball team with a picc line in his chest. He was the first student at SLA to leverage the WiFi at Children’s Hospital so that he could Skype into classes. And no matter how much pain he was in, he never let sickle cell stop him from his goals.
If you came to SLA in our early days, there was a good chance you met Brandon. He was one of the Office Kids of SLA, one of those kids who was often in the office on a free period or during lunch, so he gave plenty of tours, interviewed dozens of students, and just always looked to give back. He and I had so many conversations in my office about every topic imaginable. And he was every bit as at home talking with adults as he was with his classmates. And he was loved by teachers and students alike – and most definitely by me.
I have said this over and over about the teaching life — we get to spend our lives with these amazing young men and women. They share their lives with us, and for all the work we do to try to have a positive impact on our students’ lives, there is no question of the incredibly powerful, profound and positive effect they have on ours. I am better for having known Brandon. He was simply one of the finest, kindest souls to walk our halls.
He deserved far more time than he got, and the world was robbed of his presence far too soon. I – and all who knew him – will miss him terribly.
We love you, Brandon. Rest in peace.