West Springfield High School Newspaper

The Oracle

West Springfield High School Newspaper

The Oracle

West Springfield High School Newspaper

The Oracle

All smiles for Myles Raupp

Photo courtesy of Madison McKenna
“Smiles for Myles [is the idea that] happiness can be a long term thing for Myles,” said Buddies Club sponsor and disabilities teacher Madison McKenna.


On Valentine’s Day, the Buddies Club celebrated the life of Myles Raupp, a beloved member of the WS community.

The event, Smiles for Myles, was held by the Buddies team to give students and staff an opportunity to come together in remembrance of all the things that made Raupp smile. Throughout the event, the hallways were decorated with photos of Raupp’s happiest moments as well as his favorite things written on paper circles hung on the walls. Buddies club members also made bracelets with smiley face charms to represent the happiness Raupp embodied.

“He was this vibrant, wonderful, always happy [person]. We called him smiles because it worked and was the right fit. He was always goofing off, telling jokes, and wanting to interact with anyone and everyone. If you would see him in the hallway, he would honk his horn at you or wave hello or anything like that,” said Buddies Club sponsor and severe disabilities teacher Madison McKenna. “The definition of [Myles] was joy.”

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The Smiles for Myles event also allowed students and staff members to share their favorite memories of Raupp with one another. One of McKenna’s favorite memories of Raupp was his school spirit.

“[Myles] on spirit days always dressed to the nines,” said McKenna. “His parents are such a wonderful team and so supportive of him and always wanted to be a part of the school. I think of him on spirit days living it up.”

McKenna expressed that the Buddies Club is giving Raupp’s family time to process and will always be a community in which they are “always welcome.”

“Myles loved WS. Thank you to the students and staff that made him a part of the Spartans family.  From Buddies Club events, Homecomings, his prom proposal, to his Dreams on 3 experience all of you cheered him on and we will always be grateful for that. To all of our WS family, always smile big like Myles and just like Myles don’t let anything keep you down,” wrote Raupp’s parents Christie and Joel Raupp in a statement to The Oracle.

Upon the news of his passing, McKenna felt that something had to be done to commemorate Raupp in the larger context of the school community.

“I think this event will bring a little more light to it. We like to live out amidst the larger community but at times we are just our own little bubble and so it’s a little harder to have that recognized, but I think our team has done a really good job of being able to process together and luckily our students kind of lean on that side of optimism, positivity and sunshine. I think of it as Myles helping us cope with everything,” said McKenna.

As a beloved member of the WS community, Raupp has left behind many close friends. Junior Joe Clardy, Myles’s buddy, shared his fond memory of his and Raupp’s friendship in a statement to The Oracle.

“Forrest Gump put it best, ‘He was one of my best good friends’.  Myles and I first began bonding during Ballin with Buddies practice and we became great friends.  Hanging with Myles was easy, I got him and he got me, and that connection was as pure as a friendship can be.  I found a lot of comfort in Myles.  His easy going vibe and eagerness to have a good time taught me how to see the most in everything life has to offer.  It hurts beyond belief to no longer be able to turn a corner and see his face, he would light up and call my name; it just doesn’t get sweeter than that.  I am forever grateful for the good times, good lessons, and great smiles that were the gift of my friend Myles,” wrote Clardy.

According to McKenna, Smiles for Myles was not a one-time occurrence, and the Buddies community thinks of Raupp on a daily basis.

“[Smiles for Myles] will be a big [annual] thing. I truly think that a lot of us truly feel him every day and that joy, that sunshine, that is what made doing something like the Smiles for Myles event like ‘of course we would do that’,” finished Mckenna. “[If I could describe Myles in one word it would be] sunshine. I think a lot of us look for him, and he is in every ray of that.”

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