Remembering Devonne Green
Family and friends remembered Devonne Green's smile.
"His smile was so beautiful," said Devonne's friend Caleb Yaso. "His smile was contagious."
"He had this smile that went from ear to ear," said Devonne's aunt Katrina Andersch. "I'm going to miss that smile."
Devonne, a sophomore at Wilsonville High School who had been attending schools in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District since seventh-grade, died Dec. 15.
WHS Principal Dan Schumaker sent out an email to families Monday, Dec. 17, notifying them of the tragic news.
"At Wilsonville High School today we have additional counselors on site to support students and staff. An announcement was read to all students at the beginning of first period that included this information. Teachers then took some time in the class to allow students to ask questions, share thoughts and emotions," Schumaker said in an email. "After that, teachers went forward with the routine of the school day, as we know this is what many students need to move through difficult times. A Support Room was available for students who needed additional time to process their feelings with friends and adults, or who wanted to make cards for Devonne's family."
Schumaker said during situations, like the death of a student, the district has a Flight Team in place where counselors across the school district, and even from other school districts, flock to the school that is experiencing challenges, and provides extra support.
"As a principal, I appreciate that we have a process, that we don't come to a school and say 'Now what do we do?'" Schumaker said.
And just five days later, on Devonne's 16th birthday, the Wilsonville community rallied around Devonne's family and hosted a vigil at WHS to remember Devonne's life.
"Earlier this week, we experienced a life transforming event that happened to all of us but most especially to Belle (Devonne's mother) and her family. As we attempt to find the words, there's just simply no ordinary words, they just seem to fail us. It's impossible to for us to remain silent so all that we can do right now is to offer our thoughts and outreach as we come together as a community," said Shelley Kamikawa, one of the community members who helped organize the event. "We are, as a community, responsible for the well-being of our children, our families and our community. As a whole we are the village that comes together both in happiness and in sadness. Let us take some time to remember Devonne Green and his family."
Friends, family and WHS staff members gathered in the bleachers at WHS's stadium, cell phones shining bright and tissue boxes at hand. Andersch shared memories of Devonne and Yaso led the community in a prayer before Kamikawa's daughter, Kylee, sang two songs and the family released 16 white balloons into the air.
"When Devonne came into this world 16 years ago today, he was an absolute blessing for us. He was the first grandchild in our family and the first son for my sister," Andersch said. "When he came into this world he had the most beautiful dark eyes and these chubby little cheeks and this hair that just stuck up straight up in the air and it was almost like you took a helium balloon, shook it on your head and got that straight hair from the electricity from that balloon."
And as Devonne became older, his family noticed he liked to fix things. He would take things apart and put them back together.
"He would go down to his grandfather's and spend the summers with his cousins working on various things — vehicles, trailers, anything he could work on mechanically — taking stuff apart — Xboxes, Playstations — (and) his love of mechanics and engineering brought him to the robotics program here."
His freshman year, Devonne started tinkering around with WHS's FIRST Robotics Competition team and fell in love with it.
Andersch also described Devonne as a walking almanac.
"Devonne knew anything and everything and if he didnt, he would Google it and he would learn absolutely everything about it and I think he got that from my sister and my dad because they are also walking almanacs," Andersch said. "He would (also) talk to anyone. He would find an interest with someone and he would talk endlessly about whatever they were interested in."
Devonne's friend Lucy Philippo describes Devonne as sweet and funny.
"He'd always try to make his friends laugh," she said.
Family and friends also valued Devonne's caring and compassionate personality. Devonne would take care of his mother when she didn't feel well, and cook her meals.
"He also loved his brother and sister. ... He took care of them and I know they looked up to him. They wanted to be like him; they wanted to be smart like him, have friends like him and have that outgoing personality that he had," Andersch said. "I know that all of us and our family are going to miss him and I know he's going to be up in Heaven looking down on us, making sure
that we stay safe and stay strong."
For community members who wish to donate money for funeral costs or volunteer to cook a meal for Devonne's family, visit https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/o3ndwd.