When flipping through the pages of the PHS yearbook last month, the Fulton family couldn’t find the one thing they searched for: An image of William “Will” Fulton, who died in a car wreck during his senior year last October.
“We were waiting all year long for this yearbook,” said Andy Fulton, his dad. “How can he just be overlooked?”
Angela Fulton, his mom, said the family provided photographs of Will for the yearbook and were told there would be a remembrance page. Those who designed and organized the yearbook feel terrible about the omission, said Mike Heny, a yearbook adviser.
“We sincerely apologize to the Fulton family,” Heny said. “It was not intentionally left out, and we feel terrible.”
The Fultons said they don’t want to stir up controversy, but want to ensure Will’s memory is honored.
Heny has talked with the Fultons and others at the high school about ways to memorialize Will at PHS, he said.
“Unfortunately, we can’t change what happened ... we will do anything we can to make it right,” Heny said.
A bench with a plaque honoring Will is going to be built by PHS woodworking students and placed in the high school, Heny said. Will loved woodworking, Angela Fulton said. The school also is planning to include a remembrance page for Will in a future yearbook. Will’s younger sister, Mikala, will graduate from PHS in 2015.
“We could include something in his sister’s yearbook,” Heny said.
Heny said he and yearbook co-adviser Tracy McArthur were rookies in the position last year. Between it being their first year, a hard drive crash and a breakdown in communication among the staff, Heny said mistakes were made.
The 2012-13 yearbook was created over the course of the school year, printed in the summer and released last month.
PHS teachers and the Fulton family want to ensure a situation like this doesn’t happen in the future. Heny said the school is looking at creating a procedure for student memorials, whether it’s in the yearbook, at graduation, with a tree or another tribute.
“We don’t want it to happen again — we don’t want to lose another student,” Heny said. “But there will be a procedure in place for students in the future, marking their time at Powell High School.”
Will was honored at the 2013 graduation ceremony, “and it brought us all to tears,” Andy Fulton said.
Heny said the school will work with families and keep their wishes in mind.
“If anything comes out of it, there needs to be something so no one else has to go through this,” Andy Fulton said.
While they would like to see a procedure in place for student memorials, the Fultons also don’t want Powell to lose any more young people.
Angela Fulton said she encourages local students to participate in the Alive at 25 class, which addresses the most common causes of crashes involving young drivers. Will was a passenger in a vehicle that crashed last October, and he was wearing a seat belt.
The next Alive at 25 class takes place Saturday, Nov. 2, at NWC Fagerberg Building, Room 70. For more information or to register for the free class, call Powell Valley Community Education at 754-6469.