Written: Spring 2019
To: Caylee Whitaker
From: Cherry and Trey Whitaker — Proud Parents
First of all, we would like to thank Tri-Delta for your caring and loving support for Caylee throughout these four years. As for sharing our thoughts about Caylee, one page is not enough when we could write a novel. Thanks for requiring us to keep it brief.
Caylee — When you were born, we only wished that you were healthy. We were blessed. You were healthy, strong and bright. Over the years, you have blessed us countless more times.
It would be easy to just list your attributes. Things such as:
- Your kind and generous nature (especially to those most in need)
- Your adventurous spirit that has taken you around the world (although mostly to beaches)
- Your bright smile that lights up any room you enter
- Your sense of humor including, most importantly, the ability to laugh at yourself
- Your love for children and dogs and especially Abbey and Ben
- Your love for family, but especially your grandparents who loved you beyond all others
- Your impeccable sense of fashion combined somehow with your love for hanging out on the couch in a pair of really soft sweatpants
- Your ability and desire to quickly make friends wherever you may go
- Your willingness to lead and to do so with compassion
- Your talent on the sports field, the dance floor and in the classroom
- Your passion for fitness and all sorts of good food from sushi to salsa to donuts
- But most of all, your loving nature.
Some examples come to mind:
When our cat, Jackie, passed, we buried her in the front yard under a magnolia tree. Although you were very young, you gave us a medal you’d won to hang on the tree over her little grave. Twenty years later, that medal still hangs from that tree. Although it’s faded and tarnished from the weather, it remains a testament to your loving kindness.
When you first began playing soccer, you had a teammate, Miranda, that didn’t like getting dirty. Not the best trait for a soccer player. Entering the last game of the season, Miranda was the only player who hadn’t scored a goal. You were determined to change that and, with dogged persistence and a fair amount of skill, you passed the ball off her shinguard and into the opponent’s net. We can still recall her smile and your act of kind selflessness.
During your grade school years, you spent countless afternoons snuggled beside your grandmother on her couch watching ‘Criminal Minds’. When you were a freshman at UVM, you slept on the windowsill of an Intensive Care Unit during your grandmother’s final days. You shared your love, compassion and good humor when she needed it the most while also supporting everyone around you.
You’ve won awards. You’ve won trophies. Yet the real testament to your character and to who you are as person is in how you have impacted others in the most positive of ways. In how you’ve been there for your friends and family when they’ve most needed it.
You have been a gift to us and, we sense, a gift to Tri Delta and UVM. You always wish the best for everyone around you and everywhere you venture is made better by your presence.
We’re so very proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Even more so, we’re excited about what the future holds for you. Caylee Star — We love you to the moon and back.