Remembering Dylan Buckner

Dylan+Buckner+plays+during+the+2019+Homecoming+football+game+against+Glenbrook+South.+Buckner+was+the+starting+varsity+quarterback+during+his+sophomore+and+junior+seasons.+Photo+courtesy+of+Stuart+Rodgers

Dylan Buckner plays during the 2019 Homecoming football game against Glenbrook South. Buckner was the starting varsity quarterback during his sophomore and junior seasons. Photo courtesy of Stuart Rodgers

Peter Bazianos and Daniel Kim

Considerate, driven, kind — these words only begin to describe senior Dylan Buckner, who died on Jan. 7, 2021.

His mother, Karen Buckner, said in a phone interview that she was extremely proud of countless aspects of Dylan’s character, particularly his drive to overcome challenges.

“There might have been people who would have said, ‘You know, I’m putting in the hour and then I’m done,’” said Karen. “And he just would not do that.

“Whatever he did, he wanted it to be his best, even if it meant putting in the extra time.”

As a selfless friend and an AP-level student, he was eager to learn and help fellow students with their academics.

“There were numerous kids that reached out to [Dylan] to say, ‘Hey, I’m struggling in this area, can you help me?’” said Karen. “And [when] they did well on their tests, that made him feel good.”

Along with his accomplishments in the classroom, Dylan was the starting varsity quarterback, a position he held since his sophomore year. He set Glenbrook North’s passing attempts record and completions record. 

Head Football Coach Matt Purdy said in an email correspondence that he believes Dylan would have broken most of the other quarterback records this year in a full nine-game season.

According to Karen, although Dylan did not want to be the center of attention, he gravitated towards the quarterback role because he was a selfless leader and wanted to help others. 

“He took not only pride [in], but he felt totally responsible for that position,” said Karen. “And he also used it as an opportunity to … encourage other people … to be their best.”

According to senior and teammate Drake Marquez, Dylan was someone every single kid on the football team wanted to be around. To Marquez, Dylan was one of the best people he had ever met in his life.

“One thing that I want people to know is that Dylan was someone who would give the shirt off his back for you,” said Marquez. “He was selfless — he didn’t care about personal accolades.

“If you never got the chance to know him, then you missed out. You missed out a lot.”

Dylan was also involved in Glenbrook North’s student-run newspaper, Torch. He served as the Executive Advertising Editor and as a Sports Editor.

According to Sarah Boeke, Torch Editor-in-Chief, Dylan mostly wrote for the sports section, often reporting about the people behind the sport, or the stories of the individual athletes.

“He wouldn’t just focus on their performance in the sport,” said Boeke. “He would go beyond that to talk about their personalities and their relationships with the coaches, their work ethic.”

George Korompilas, senior and long-time friend, said in a video conference that Dylan’s dedication to his academics and athletics set an example for his peers to follow.

“I just remember, in school, Dylan was always somebody I admired and looked up to. 

“He was a selfless guy and he wanted the best for his teammates,” said Korompilas. “I think everybody who knew him on the court or the field … gravitated towards him and learned a lot from him.”

According to Purdy, Dylan was a gifted, mature student athlete who knew how to balance being a leader and a friend. Even in his sophomore season, Dylan could control a huddle dominated by upperclassmen.

“He walked in, [and] you knew he was the quarterback,” said Purdy. “You knew he was in charge.

“He was an exceptionally great leader for us, and just a special kid to be around.”

Due to his hours of film study and a work ethic that was second to none, Dylan was like an extra coach on the field, Purdy said.

“One of the greatest things about him, and there [are] lots of expectations on a quarterback, [was that] Dylan was a guy who knew all 11 positions,” said Purdy. “And you don’t get a whole lot of kids who can do that.”

According to Karen, while looking back at photographs of Dylan, she saw an unforgettable similarity in every picture.

“I think the thing that I will always remember is, whatever he was doing, he did have a smile on his face,” said Karen. “I want people to remember that he wanted to help people.”