The past few days have been immensely heart-wrenching for our community, because when one family among us is suffering, we all bear the pain. As most of you are undoubtedly aware, Shane Walker, SMS Alumnus, Class of 2015, was riding his motorcycle last Thursday, when a car turned in his path. Upon impact, Shane sustained irreparable brain damage, and ultimately passed from this life today. Our faith gives us comfort because we know that Jesus is welcoming heaven’s newest saint, but our sadness will not cease for a long time because we cannot comprehend why this young man’s life, filled with dreams and talents, was cut short much too soon.
As a student at SMS, Shane was involved in our STEM and Robotics program as well as musical theater, and he held an interest in photography. He matriculated to Poway High School, earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and was presently studying Biology at California State University San Marcos, while also holding down a part-time job at Trader Joe’s.
In his 18 years, Shane had a profound effect on the people whose lives he touched. My memory of Shane as his principal is vivid – he was one of the most positive, happiest students I have ever encountered. A bit more mature, or perhaps reflective than his classmates, Shane was very comfortable around adults and peers alike. He was always the first to volunteer to help in any situation, and his role as an Altar Server was always done with the utmost reverence.
Teachers and staff members shared many of their fond memories of Shane; a few are included here:
Mrs. Chapman, Shane’s math teacher, remembers that Shane loved designing, building, being creative, and problem solving. She recalls Shane once stated, “Having fun while learning – it doesn’t get any better than that!”
Mr. Cazares was Shane’s Confirmation sponsor and the two frequently talked about live sound mixing and photography. “Shane was intelligent, curious, and humble. He wanted to learn and he was an amazing young man.”
Mrs. Poling, Shane’s Science teacher remembers Shane’s 8th grade Invention Convention project. “Shane and his partner built an automated flagpole. Getting the very long pole to school was quite a feat. Not only that, but during the transportation, the mechanism to automate the pole was damaged. Shane tenaciously worked on the mechanism until it was fixed. There were hoots of joy when the automated flagpole raised the flag.”
Becky Woods was Shane’s First Grade teacher. She recalls, “Shane was a funny boy who took every opportunity to turn things into a silly joke. He never argued or became frustrated with friends.” She also quipped that he liked to make funny faces at her from across the room while she was teaching, but it was impossible to be cross at him.
Finally, Lisa Matens, our Director of Admissions recollects, “Even when he was a small child, you knew Shane was extra special. There was always a sparkle in his eye and a grin on his face.”
Throughout the course of a lifetime, we experience great joy but we also experience great sorrow. It seems, however, that some people are burdened with a cross much harder to bear than others. This is a reminder that we should be grateful every day because our lives can be forever changed in an instant. For those of us who knew Shane, we feel extremely blessed that he touched our lives. He will live on in our memories and we can take comfort in knowing he has been welcomed home.
Over the course of the next few weeks and months, St. Michael’s School will be honoring the memory of Shane – our classmate, friend, and student – in a most special way. We will keep you informed when a celebration is possible. In the meantime, please continue to pray for Shane’s mom and dad, Lynda and Craig, as well as for his brothers Bryce, SMS Class of 2012, and Cody, who is in our current eighth grade class.
“Well done, my good and faithful servant…Come share your master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:21)