Will Macon ‘10 transferred to Whitfield for his junior year. Will graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2014 with a degree in Human and Organizational Development. He is currently the Manager of State Development & Communications for Best Buddies International, a nonprofit working to ensure that neurodiverse individuals are included in every facet of life. Will designs the organization’s communications strategy, creates content, and works with 60 offices across the country to adapt and implement their marketing plans.
How did you end up in your career?
During the first week of my freshman year at Vanderbilt, a young woman with Down syndrome randomly tapped me on the shoulder in the dining hall, and we talked about our summers for a few minutes. Little did I know, our brief interaction would alter the course of my life. After being inspired by our conversation, I joined Vanderbilt's chapter of Best Buddies. After college, I immediately began working for the organization's office in Nashville.
I don't think it's a coincidence that I ended up in this line of work. I think Whitfield made me receptive to that tap on the shoulder, to being inspired, and to understanding the value of community. Whitfield helped shape my understanding of inclusion, and I'll forever be proud to be a Warrior.
How did you choose Whitfield?
In 2008, I transferred to Whitfield and joined the class of 2010 for my junior and senior years. I wasn't happy at my previous school, and I felt that high school had more to offer beyond preparation for college. Many of my uncles and cousins had attended Whitfield, and my grandparents had been huge supporters of the school until they passed away in 2004. Upon visiting the school, I was completely sold by the overwhelming passion and rapport between students and teachers; it felt like everyone truly wanted to be there. After much consideration, I followed my heart to Whitfield.
To this day, it's one of the best decisions I have ever made. In addition to being two of the best years of my life, my time at Whitfield enabled me to attend Vanderbilt University, where I met my wife and found out what I wanted to do with my life. I feel like my grandparents would have been proud of me for having the courage to make that difficult decision and for pouring my heart into Whitfield.
What are you most thankful for from your Whitfield experience, both in and outside of the classroom?
My technical preparation at Whitfield was excellent - from Spanish to science, reading to writing, and everything in between - but I feel like my education went beyond academics. During my two years at Whitfield, I grew as a person even more than I did as a student. Through my classes, I developed my problem-solving ability, became a better communicator, and felt empowered to think for myself.
Outside of the classroom, I'm most thankful for the people and long-standing connections; I talk with friends from Whitfield every single day. At my 20-person wedding this past May, three of my classmates stood next to me. Whenever I see friends from Whitfield, we inevitably end up reminiscing about high school at some point. We truly cherish our memories, and I feel grateful that we're able to look back on those years so fondly.
What are some of your favorite Whitfield memories?
My mind immediately went to sports games and Spirit Week. I still can't wrap my head around having that much fun at school activities. But my favorite memories are the seemingly little ones: getting to school at 7:15 just to have a few extra minutes with my classmates; spending daily assemblies united with the entire staff and student body; sharing a hallway with everyone, from sixth graders to seniors. The sense of togetherness and community is so deeply ingrained in the fabric of Whitfield.