The Student News Site of Lee's Summit High School

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The Student News Site of Lee's Summit High School

Hi-Life Online

The Student News Site of Lee's Summit High School

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The Legacy of a Friend

Will Hampton

Sadness and grief-struck Lee’s Summit High School’s community, along with friends and family of student Will Hampton, around 10 a.m. on June 8, 2023. Will was tragically killed in a work accident at just the young age of 16 years old. The community and school quickly came together to support others during this hardship and celebrate the life he lived. 

“It was like a brother and sister relationship just because we hated each other some days, and we were best friends the next day.” Junior Gracie Weissman said.

All kinds of relationships are almost guaranteed to have positive and negative conflicts that must be worked through. However, this allows room for growth and improvement while adapting and overcoming multiple scenarios and events throughout life.

“I told him things I’ve never told other people,” Weissman said.

Your actions can influence your peers more than you realize. Whether or not your impact is helpful in someone’s life or detrimental is mostly in your control.


“Whenever he started opening up, he kinda taught me that it’s okay to be myself and that even when he’s gone, doesn’t mean that I can ever give that up because he’s always here to help me.” Junior Julianna Belzeski said.

He was known by all for his energy and personality. Peers expresses that he never struggled to make someone laugh, smile, or be in a positive mindset and mood when around him.

“Whenever he was himself, no matter the mood he was in, he would light up a room,” Belzeski said.

Will Hampton almost always put others before himself. Simple acts of kindness and encouragement can truly go a long way throughout someone’s day.

“He always made sure others were doing okay and made sure they had a smile on their face even if he wasn’t in a good mood himself.” Junior Bella Ishkuntana said.

The news about Will quickly spread throughout social media the morning of the accident.

“I was in complete doubt for those next few days because how would Will die, like there’s absolutely no way… he couldn’t die, so I texted him and sat and waited, but obviously I got no response,” Weissman said.

Denial is one of the five most common stages of grief. It is a defense mechanism that is triggered by the brain to try and protect oneself from an upsetting event in reality that could cause sadness, stress, and other emotions that could potentially have a negative effect on the brain and body. 

“Everything went from being best friends with him to him being in a casket with his body and no soul,” Weissman said.

Funerals and ‘Celebrations of Life’ can affect people in many different ways. To some, it may provide an outlet to express their emotions and have support around them, but to others, it may trigger depression, trauma, and anxiety. 

“Seeing him laying there lifeless immediately broke me. That was the last image I have in my head and it was not the Will I knew at all.” Belzeski said.

Will Hampton always provided a sense of security and support to those around him, and continues to do so. Those feelings do not need to be given by words, but for many can be reassured from past memories and relationships. 

“I still text him, even though he’s obviously not going to say anything, but I know that I always have someone with me even though he’s not here.” Belzeski said.

Will had a long-term effect on his friends, classmates, and family members from just simple acts of kindness and by caring for others day-by-day.

“He is probably the sweetest person that you’ll ever meet, just because he was always there if you needed to talk, even if he wasn’t in a good mood, he would still try to put a smile on your face even if you didn’t want to smile.” Weissman said.

Many constantly noticed that through many hardships Will may have gone through, he continued to give it his all to be able to reach his goal and give what is necessary to his priorities.

“He always put dedication into the things he cared about in the moment and never gave up when it was hard.” Ishkuntana said.

His hard work, motivation, and compassion in his relationships and tasks did not, and will continue to not go unnoticed.

“I would tell him that I was proud of him just because I don’t think anybody ever told him that.” Weissman said.

Life-changing events can happen within a blink of an eye when you might be least expecting it. It can happen to anyone. So while you can, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, maybe help with the chores, or cook dinner that night, and learn to accept and forgive. 

“You never know when it’s the last time you’re going to see someone and it just makes me realize that I can’t leave a situation without being understanding and working through it.” Belzeski said.

Will Hampton will forever stay in people’s hearts.  Many will try to open their minds to new perspectives to help their peers in times of need just like he did. He will forever be missed, but never forgotten.

“Even though the journey has ended, the memories will keep on going.” Ishkuntana said.

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