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February 10, 2014 | Tim Hauserman
This past Saturday, February 8th, about 400 people packed Sunnyside for a celebration of the life of Will Rogers. A member of the North Tahoe High School class of 2008, Will went on to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, received a degree in Viticulture and was working at his dream job at Maverick Farming in Santa Maria, CA when he died in a tragic auto accident on January 18th, 2014.
The large crowd at the event spoke to how Will and his family have touched many people in many different ways. Each person there had a Will story. For me, Will was one of a close knit group of kids in my daughter Sarah’s tiny graduating class at North Tahoe High School. They were like a family, so much so in fact, that the joke was that they didn’t really date each other, because it would be like going out with your brother or sister. The sad part of being a parent at Tahoe, is that once our fledglings graduate they fly the coop to those warm beach places like San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara or Los Angeles, and we miss seeing them around town.
Now, five years after high school graduation many of the class of 2008 have graduated from college, and are finding love, living great adventures, or just coming up with new ways to make us laugh. They are making us proud. Will loved Cal Poly, found his calling working with the dirt, fell in love, and continued the outdoor passions he cherished at Tahoe-hunting, skiing and sailing.
To the now far flung North Tahoe High School class of 2008: Your home town is so sorry that you have to go through this horrible lesson and reality of life. I hope you can find solace in each other, and use it as a reminder to go forward, do great things, take time to laugh, and remember that time that Will…oh wait, that’s a secret just between you.
While Tahoe kids leave us for other places, in many ways their hearts never depart from this incredibly beautiful place that they will always call home. So to those Tahoe kids who made the sad journey back to the lake to celebrate Will’s life, please also celebrate how lucky you were to be raised in an incredibly beautiful place where we all care about each other. It was great to see you here, and please come back again soon.