Hawken School lost two students May 14 when a vehicle struck a tree on County Line Road in Gates Mills. The crash killed seniors Alex Doody and Josh Weil, and injured fellow classmates Max Perlick and Chapin Berk. While the Gates Mills Police are still investigating, speeding is believed to have played a role in the accident.
Hawken senior Parker Selman described the boys as “two of the kindest, most genuine people I ever had the honor of knowing”. Shaker students tweeted their support for the boys’ families and wore red May 18 in solidarity with the Hawken community. The school district also flew flags at half staff that day to honor the fallen teens.
More than 1,000 people attended each boy’s funeral.
Doody was a promising basketball player, and Weil was a solid football and lacrosse player as well as a musician. How could something this horrible, this incomprehensible, happen to teenagers who had such bright futures?
These tragedies occur all too often, but what we learn from them is key to the healing process. For one, it brings into perspective our mortality. As much as we hate to think about it, we must respect the fragility of life and how quickly it can be taken away. We are not immortal, and coming to that realization can prevent such a senseless loss of life.
When you are out on the roads, slow down. The potential consequences of being five minutes late are tremendously lower than those of speeding. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you when you have the chance; you never know when goodbye will come. Hug your mom. Help your brother with that homework. Spend quality time with those you care about whenever you have the chance – life is too short not to.
Most importantly, live life like tomorrow is your last day. Be present in the now, do what you love, and make sure to always give your all, just like Alex and Josh.
Doody and Weil will be missed greatly by those who knew them. While they may no longer be here, their legacies of hard work, dedication, selflessness and strong friendship will live on in the hearts of their classmates, friends and families forever.
To the Doody and Weil families, the Hawken community, and all those touched by the lives of these outstanding teens: the thoughts of the Shaker community are with you.
To the Shaker community: please keep in mind that this could have been your family and friends grieving the loss of a young life. Nobody is invincible, no one is above being injured, even killed, when a driver loses control of a car.
As teenagers, it is important we remember these things. When life can end so quickly, you never know how much time you have. Always remember that there is no time for wishing, wanting and hoping in life – go out and do it. Your time is now.