In my Mother’s Day Blog you may recall that I interviewed two of my dearest friends. Both women have lost a child, yet through their adversity and remarkable strength, have found ways to honor and remember their sons. Today I celebrate Adam.

“To the Mother with a child in Heaven-I honor your courage and sorrow. I journey beside you.”

The sound of the dismissal bell rang through Guston Middle School alerting everyone that it was time to go home. It had been a busy week for the dedicated staff and students whose combined efforts gave Guston national recognition on the map.

For young teacher, Adam Nesbitt, he was proud to be a part of this exceptional team. A graduate of SUNY Oswego, his technology classes were hands-on, fun and interesting. The Robotics Club he’d started was equally enticing and filled to capacity with eager young minds. In just one year, his reviews received from the administration were stellar.


Adam graduating from SUNY Oswego

Brothers and best friends, Adam & Alex

It was an autumn weekend and good weather made for a perfect drive back home. Adam looked forward to seeing his family and friends. There was a special bond between him and his younger brother Alex.

With just 4 years difference the siblings shared many of the same interests and enjoyed spending time together. On Saturday a birthday celebration would be held for his mother giving him the opportunity to visit with the rest of the family including his “Nana.”

For Diane Nesbitt, there was nothing better than having her boys home. Warm and welcoming was a perfect description of the homestead and it wasn’t unusual for her sons to invite groups of their friends over. Packed in the living room with video games, food and fun, it was the place to congregate.

This weekend would be no exception. Since many of Adam’s friends were in town, they agreed to meet at the high school field for a game of flag football.

Diane with her boys (L-R Adam, Alex, Diane)
Adam in his classroom.

Unknown to anyone, this would be Adam’s last trip home. During the game Adam collapsed on the field. He died shortly afterwards due to “natural but unexplained causes.” Numerous pathologists studied Adam’s death but could not determine any other diagnosis.

When young people leave too soon, how do the family and friends carry on? An out of order death of a child breaks a person, especially the parents.

Lives are changed forever in a way that will never be fixable. In this case, the classroom of students who loved and respected their instructor were now left without a teacher.

Guston Middle School took action to make sure Adam would never be forgotten. A memorial was held in his honor where several of the students spoke publicly. Yearly, there is an Adam Nesbitt Robotics Day held and the club that Adam first started has expanded to six middle schools, with the organization named after him.

“Life is partly what we make it and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”

Adam’s lifelong friends made a huge impact. They were there for the family and for each other. The powerful presence of these young people helped bring joy and comfort while easing the pain of loneliness.

Through the Adam Nesbitt Memorial Golf Tournament, Adam will always remain in their hearts. An event held every September provides graduating high school students scholarship opportunities. From Adam’s Alma Martyr, seniors pursing a career in education may apply.

Oswego Flag Football League (Adam wearing headband)
For Diane, there’s the pain and guilt associated with outliving your child, yet she strives to live in a way that will honor her son. One of her greatest joys is to talk about Adam and relive his memories with others. She is so grateful for the support her family received from the community of neighbors and friends. Her fiance and now husband, Shawn McMahon played a major role and never left her side, nor that of her son, Alex.
Adam Climbing Mount Marcy
One of Adam’s dreams was to travel. He achieved the goal of climbing Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York State before leaving. Today, Diane, Shawn & Alex continue Adam’s legacy by traveling for him. “It was something Adam always wanted to do.”

Diane’s also been supportive to other parents who have lost children. Since Adam left, she’s realized more than ever the importance for people to be kind and to live life to the fullest each and every day.

For Alex, losing his brother and best friend was not easy. It was some time before he could open and up and share his feelings. Today, with the support of family and friends, he’s doing much better and recently adopted a cat named “Jasper.”

In his few short years on this earth, Adam Nesbitt made a profound difference. Adam was a teacher in so many ways. Beyond the classroom, he was a skilled swimming instructor, inspiring students to excel in this field. As a Shriner for the Masonic Lodge, Adam again supported children through his volunteering efforts. Even in death, his legacy continued with organ donations.

Fred Rogers said: “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.” Adam was a hero. His legacy will be honored with stories and memories for generations to come.

“What a teacher writes on the blackboard of life can never be erased”

Thank you friends for reading my article and for sharing these stories! You all mean the world to me.

Look out for each other and stay safe!


Kathy Ann Corse, Author

For more information: Go to Facebook: Adam R. Nesbitt Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser

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