Teacher, Mentor, Advocate | Remembering Willard Clapper
Willard was loved and respected by our community and his recent passing has caused us to reflect on his excellent life. Willard was known for his big bear hugs and quick wit, but also for a life dedicated to investing in the future of his community. Many in Aspen knew him for his service at the volunteer fire department, but we at ACES knew him as an educator, a mentor, and advocate.
Willard spent more than 25 years of his professional life as a teacher of elementary, middle, and high school children. After he “retired” from full-time teaching, he co-founded Tomorrow’s Voices, a non-partisan program dedicated to cultivating responsible citizenship and ethical leadership in the youth of the Roaring Fork Valley. For more than ten years, Willard worked closely with high school students, encouraging them to find their civic voices and to “attach” themselves to a cause that provided their lives purpose and meaning. Willard inspired hundreds of students during candid dialogues about deep and complex social and environmental issues. We can think of no greater service than the education of our children.
It is with sadness that we say farewell to an inspiring teacher, but it is with great responsibility and meaning that we acknowledge the privilege it is to carry the Tomorrow’s Voices program forward. We will do our best to do justice to Willard’s exceptional legacy.
~ Chris Lane, CEO