Newsletter 9


In early February, we went in with donuts to the Walter Johnson High School leadership class to thank Nico Atencio and the students for their continued compassion and support. Most recently, they had helped out with We Kare-eoke *Washington* II in late December.  

 

This was the same class four and five years earlier that meant so much to Holt. As a junior he helped lead the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser that began WJ's winning tradition for LLS, and as a senior intern, he led the school blood drive for Inova Blood Donor Services. The Foundation has deepened our relationship with both these organizations to continue their good works.

 

We shared with the leadership class one of Holt's and Stone's made-up words: Sonsy.  Jan wore the Sonsy Tshirt that Holt's Eckerd College friends had made for the Eckerd memorial service.  


As all their friends know, Holt and Stone loved to play with language. Sonsy -- or sometimes sponsy -- was a word they batted about with one another and their legions of friends. To help us explain the word, we asked some of the boys' closest friends to give us some close-enough definitions -- to tell us what the word "sonsy" meant to them.  The answers reveal so much about Stone and Holt, their friendships and their shared language.  


Everyone agreed that sonsy is a difficult word to define. But all their answers had a similar feeling.

  

"The word defies definition" was the first answer from a friend of Stone's.  "But it conveys a mutual understanding of something, or someone, doing good.  It can be any part of speech.  It conveys emotion or feeling between two parties who are on the same page."

 

Other friends texted: "It comes down to individual preference how you want to use it... it can be a description of something or a name for someone." And "Someone is especially a sonzy if they acheive something great in the eyes of his fellow sonzies.  That achievement can be a wide variety of things."

 

Then this:  "Holt's definition was 'something or someone that is sonsy'.  A more explanatory definition might be 'someone or something that is exceptional, according to the opinions of other exceptional people'."


In the spirits and manners of Stone and Holt, we wanted to convey to the leadership class how very sonsy they are.  Building community and connection was something Stone and Holt cared so much about and actively lived. We are trying to follow their beautiful leads with the Foundation. 

 

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While playing on the men's tennis team at Eckerd College, Holt made a dear friend Hisa Sato who came to America for college from Osaka, Japan.  Hisa tells the story that he barely spoke English when he arrived, and that Holt, a tennis teammate, always patiently helped him understand and be understood, and that Holt always made him feel included.  Hisa came to visit us on his spring break last year, telling us that he wanted to come to Washington DC to visit "the city that raised Holt".


And Stone loved Japan.  In 2000 he had the opportunity to visit as the guest of his Uncle Louis and Aunt Carolyn. Their son, Sid -- cousin to Stone and Holt -- lives in Tokyo with his wife Youko and their three children.  Stone deeply appreciated his time there.


We know that both Stone and Holt would be wanting to help the Japanese people in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation has sent help to Hisa and the Eckerd tennis team, who are raising funds for the Japanese relief effort. And friends at Eckerd are planning to hold a special We Kare-eoke to raise more to send to the Red Cross for Japan and the Foundation will make another generous donation.

 

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The father of one of Holt's sonsiest friends from high school has been collecting art since he was a student in Chicago. To benefit the Foundation, he dreamed up the idea of offering dozens of pieces of his eclectic collection to be acquired -- for very reasonable prices -- at the Exhibition of Art for New Collectors.  Caroline Lacey, a friend of Holt's, and Daryl Oh have helped organize the effort and other accomplished artists have donated paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture and pottery. On Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10, the works will be displayed at the Washington Photography School on Rugby Avenue in Bethesda.  There will be an opening reception from 3 to 5 pm on Saturday and a closing reception from 2 to 4 pm on Sunday. Please drop by the exhibit over the weekend.  Through the generosity of all these donors, the prices are a rare opportunity.  Thank you to many for putting this together.

 

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The Stone and Holt Weeks Humanitarian Award created by Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at American University was presented at halftime of the wheelchair basketball game -- held to benefit Push America and The Wounded Warrior Project -- at Bender Arena on March 31. The night was moving and meaningful. Sponsored by the impressive young men of Theta Eta chapter, the game pitted Walter Reed against the National Rehabiitation Center.  At halftime, we spoke and presented the award to George Williams of Manchester, England.  George is studying at George Washington University and was chosen by his brothers in Pi Kappa Phi because of his caring and enthusiastic volunteerism -- in the spirits of Stone and Holt.  Taking part in the award, the Foundation joined with Pi Kappa Phi to make a generous donation to Push America. Photographs from the event are on the website.

 

On Saturday, April 16, volunteerism will also be centerstage at We Kare-eoke *Houston* II. This year the event will be championed by Stone's Houston neighbor and friend Jennifer Condi and the Women Of Montrose Action Newtwork. (WOMAN). The event will be at Grand Prize Bar from 6 pm to midnight. There will be a silent auction of more generous donations and karaoke singing into the night. All of the proceeds will go to The Beacon, a homeless center in Houston where Stone and Holt and Jennifer volunteered.

 

On Wednesday, April 20, Holt's childhood friend Tommy Feola and the Society, Life, and Justice Club will be raising money for the Foundation at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut with a Do Good, Have Fun Festival

 

Also on Wednesday, April 20 in Houston at 6 pm, there will be a student forum at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy on Rice University's campus.  In honor of Stone and Holt, Douglas Brinkley will talk about his latest book The Quiet World which he dedicated to Stone, and the prequel to it, The Wilderness Warrior, which Stone researched for him.  Afterwards there will be a bench dedicated to Stone and Holt just outside of the Baker Institute. 


The next day will be Holt's 22nd birthday.  He would be graduating from Rice a few weeks later.  We will never get over the fact that Holt only lived through his sophomore year in college.  And that after studying for the GRE, Stone did not live to go to graduate school.  And they were robbed of so so much more....


On Saturday, May 14 at 5:30 pm in Potomac, Maryland, St. Andrew's Episcopal School will dedicate two benches -- to Stone, a 2003 graduate there, and brother Holt. A dedication program will coincide with the school's Alumni Weekend. Please join us if you can.


And on Tuesday, May 17, The WJ Fashion Show will raise awareness and funds again for the Foundation, and we in turn will make a grant to Muscular Dystrophy Association Camps where Stone volunteered in high school.  Please see how last year's efforts benefited young people who live with muscular dystrophy.


Wherever you are, please join us at any of these events.  Each new challenging day we struggle to live our forever-traumatized lives without our precious Stone and our precious Holt in this world where they should be.  As best as we possibly can, we are trying to carry on their beautiful spirits, life forces, and dreams to make this world a better place -- through this Foundation. We thank you for your sensitive support. 


With Love,

Jan and Linton