Written by Daniel Fellows
It’s been a few weeks since the tragic passing of Cole Baranoski. Cole was the middle child of three and a beloved sibling. As he had just turned 18 he was a senior ready for graduation and to start the next chapter of his life. Many outside of the family knew Cole in different ways, some as friends, some as classmates and some as teachers. But something so evident about Cole to everyone was how particularly kind he was. “I had classes with him every year since I was a freshman, and he was always so sweet to me. But the thing was I never felt like it was necessarily intentional; he was just pure like that. Such an endearing personality that had to make you smile with his goofiness.” (From an anonymous student.) Cole made an example of how people should be kind regardless of who they were. Rarely when talking with Cole would one not smile or walk away laughing, that was just a part of him. I have known Cole since elementary school. Each year on our family vacation to Maine, he would stay the week sharing a beachside hotel with several other families.
Cole was easily one of the funniest kids I knew and going on vacation with him was always a good time. Just spending hours in the ocean, skimboarding, boogie boarding, swimming, and taking walks to the pier at night were times that I will cherish. My little siblings also loved Cole as he gave them attention and even played manhunt with all the kids at night. Even though I didn’t get to see him much in school, as he was an upperclassman, I did love the times I got to share with Cole.
There are so many of us who got to share memories with Cole. When I asked Gehrig Brynda, a former frontier student about his experiences with Cole he said: “Oh yeah me and Cole had some times. Me and Cole initially met in kindergarten and took the bus together, Cole always came off as wacky but that was his character.” Gehrig got to know Cole more as they became friends through elementary school, baseball, and sledding in Cole’s backyard during the winter. Many, like Kai Sharp, said they met Cole through sports as kids: “In elementary school, a bunch of kids from our class played for a Frontier soccer travel team and everyone loved Cole.”
Cole also played baseball as his father was a coach. Another anonymous source said: “Me and Cole played baseball together about every year, but one year we were so garbage. We still made the playoffs though because it’s rec and everyone does. So we’re in the first round down like 15-1 getting destroyed and this kid on our team Talos slaps a dinger over the fence. Cole immediately ran out to home plate air bumping and yelling ‘stuff it’ to the other team. Everyone lost it laughing except for his dad who was heated”. It was moments like these where Cole’s character stood out and brought happiness to those around him.
Over the past few weeks following his passing, the community of those who loved Cole has shown. It has been truly beautiful witnessing how many people took action in his commemoration. A memorial was made right at Frontier where friends were able to bring flowers and other items paying respects and in memory of Cole. A parade was organized and led by his house with hundreds of cars. A second memorial was made in front of his house. Along with a fundraiser page making over 20,000 dollars and a former Greenfield student Kyle Devlin selling over 200 stickers with all profits going to Coles family. Cole holds a special place in my heart as I know he does in others as well but it still remains a tragedy to see him go. I am happy I was able to make memories with him and call him my friend. May he be forever in our hearts, Long Live Cole Baranoski, and may he rest in the greatest peace.