Wiley’s legacy lives on

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Wiley’s legacy lives on

MaRaya White, In-Depth Editor

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Christopher Wiley was the only African-American male counselor in the state of Nebraska for several years. He worked with teens and changed an abundance of lives.

Wiley was the emotional, academic, and mental counselor for many students at North. Now that his presence is no longer at North many staff and students are going through a moment of grievance.

Ron Parker, a Special Ed Specialist at North is one of many staff members grieving the death of Wiley. Wiley and Parker met in high school and were close friends ever since.

“Right now, there’s a large void in my life when you’ve had as many years with a person as I’ve had with him,” said Parker.

Parker and Wiley worked together not only on projects within OPS, but also outside of OPS.

“We partnered and helped at the Boys and Girls Club. We helped students academically and for many helped outside of academics,” said Parker.

Parker and Wiley had a strong bond and were big parts of each other’s lives.

“When steel touches steel it makes each other sharper. Wiley valued education and knew the importance of school to be successful,” said Parker.

Parker was surprised when he received the call from Wiley’s wife, it came as a surprise seeing as how his death was a shock to him as well as everyone else.

Parker spoke at Wiley’s memorial and was overjoyed with amount of support Wiley received.

“Wiley always did whatever he could to put North’s young people in positions to receive scholarships, and make sure we had not only our brightest and best about our strong potential students,” said Parker.

Parker felt like him and Wiley were partners in helping the youth and making sure the importance of education was always voiced to students.

“We had always had a serendipitous relation with our kids. Although sometimes we were divided we always knew at times we would come back together and as we came back together we would teach that you don’t want to hand out, you want to hand down, so you pull the next child up,” said Parker.

Carly Klein, a senior at North was affected by Wiley’s death seeing as how he was her counselor for three years.

“He taught to pursue what I want to achieve for myself. He taught me to always want to do better than what I’ve done,” said Klein.

Klein felt like Wiley was a close friend and helped her grow not only as a student but as a person. Klein feels like Wiley was a huge factor in her experience at North.

“He shaped me to be the better person I am today just because of the things he would teach me,” said Klein.

Klein feels like it’s different without having Wiley at her leisure to help prepare her for college and adult life.

“This year has been different without him seeing as how now it’s my senior year and I don’t have him here to ask for help with scholarship applications and support. He was the one pushing me to go online and apply for scholarships and ACT studies and now that he’s gone its hard,” said Klein.

Another Omaha North student, Jerome Thomas-Glass, is also suffering from the loss of Wiley. As well as Klein, Wiley was Thomas-Glass’ counselor for three years.

“I knew him well. If I had a problem with a class or any personal problem I could go to him to talk about it,” said Thomas-Glass.

Wiley helped Thomas-Glass get involved not only at North. He helped Glass get into many career programs such as the UNMC program.

“One thing I will take away from Wiley is to be ambitious and strive for greatness,” said Thomas-Glass.

Wiley made Thomas-Glass’ experience at North something to remember. He always coached him to excel at life and academics and be his own competition.

“Now that I’m in my senior year looking for scholarships it’s hard because he’s not here as a guide but I know Wiley would want me to keep my head up and keep going,” said Thomas-Glass.

Wiley made a lasting effect at Omaha North and in OPS. He was the only African-American male counselor in OPS and now that he’s gone there’s a gap within the school system. Although his physical presence is no longer with us his legacy forever lives on.