‘I think about him daily’: River Valley High School keeps Beau Solomon’s memory alive
SPRING GREEN, Wis. — More than two years after University of Wisconsin-Madison student Beau Solomon died while studying abroad in Rome, his loss is still felt daily.
His parents recently settled a lawsuit with John Cabot University, claiming that university officials there failed to adequately warn students about the danger of the surrounding areas after a homeless man allegedly pushed Solomon into a river.
UW-Madison has since stopped sending students to that university when they study abroad in Rome — not in response to Solomon’s case or the settlement, but because of better educational opportunities, officials said.
For those Solomon left behind, however, closure is hard to find.
Solomon attended River Valley High School in Spring Green.
“I don’t want to ever forget. I don’t want it to be memory,” Principal Darby Blakley said. “I’m with him, and he’s with me, at all times.”
Blakley’s office is full of memories, but amid signed footballs and photos, one display stands out.
“It’s the first thing I see when I come in, and the last thing I see when I leave,” he said, referring to his collage in honor of Solomon.
“He was one of those people that pulled you in,” Blakley said, saying the student was always good for a quick laugh and a long conversation.
“When he laughed, you couldn’t help but laugh with him,” he said. “He always had long conversations. Not just, ‘Hey, how’s it going? I’ll catch you later.'”
Of course, they haven’t caught up in a while.
“You think it’s going to get easier,” Blakley said. “I guess there’s moments that will always last forever, sitting there thinking about what he could be doing now, missing those conversations.”
But even after Solomon’s death, Blakley is determined to keep the conversation going.
“I think about him daily,” he said. “He’s always around, and that’s the thing — his impact was so big. I wish he could, I hope he can see the impact he made on so many.”
Blakley talks about Solomon with current students and his own children. Solomon’s No. 5 even lives on through Blakley’s son.
“His baseball jersey’s No. 5, his basketball jersey is No. 5,” Blakley said. “It’s an important thing for him.”
At his old high school, Solomon is more than just a memory.
“A young man lost his life way too early. There’s never going to be complete closure,” Blakley said. “He wanted to leave his impression here. He had a legacy he wanted to leave behind, and he did.”
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