Like many of you, I didn’t know Adam Williams, but I was pretty heartbroken to read about his death last July. The 16-year-old boy was killed by his mother in a murder-suicide on July 17, 2009. He was going to be a junior at Las Lomas High School.
I reported on the case on this blog. Well, now I’m going to refer you to a story I did on Walnut Creek Patch about a beautiful gesture made this week by his cross country teammates and other classmates.
I attended a celebration of his life and a dedication in Shell Ridge Open Space on Tuesday. The students raised money to buy a bench, and woodshop class students put it together. On Tuesday, the students installed the bench in the shade of an oak tree in Shell Ridge Open Space, just past Indian Valley Elementary. Adam loved to run in the open spaces, and there is a particular route, that starts close to this oak tree, that the Las Lomas cross country team uses for its training runs and its home races.
Maybe Adam's death is a sad thing to be thinking about this week, when kids are supposed to be celebrating the end of school and graduation.
But there was definitely a sense of celebration in Tuesday’s event, a celebration of Adam’s life.
Attending the bench dedication for Adam was one of the most rewarding and beautiful events of my journalism career. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, with a slight breeze, and there was such a spirit of caring and generosity among all the people attending. Adam’s father, Jim Williams was there. So was Adam’s stepmother and half-brother.
The event was organized by cross country coach and Japanese teacher Andrew Schreiber, who told me it was one of the most rewarding experiences he has had in teacher. He wanted the students to have a way to heal. Adam’s death was devastating for a lot of them. It was pretty devastating for our entire community. Schreiber said there really isn’t any way to make sense of this tragedy, the best any of us can do is honor Adam and what he stood for.