Damon Weaver was in elementary school when he turned heads with his interview with former President Barack Obama. An inspiration to many, Damon unexpectedly passed away recently. He was just 23 years old.
Most children who visit D.C. do so as a part of a class trip, not to interview one of the most powerful people in the world.
Before meeting Obama, Damon had one-on-one interviews with professional athletes Dwyane Wade and Anquan Boldin. In a throwback interview with The Palm Beach Post, a young Damon described his excitement at interviewing notable Black celebrities during the 2009 inauguration festivities.
Oprah Winfrey, T.D. Jakes, L.L. Cool J and Chris Tucker were among those dazzled by the charm of the student journalist. Damon also matched wits with Diane Sawyer during an appearance on Good Morning America.
Damon got his big break in 2008 when a teacher wanted students to join a local news project. He was a natural in front of the camera. Before he interviewed Obama, Damon snagged an interview with then-Sen. Joe Biden ahead of the 2008 election.
After a year of trying and with the help of celebrity friends like Wade, Damon finally got to talk with the nation’s first Black president.
With only 10 minutes to chat with the president, Damon came with real questions about education and what actions he would take to keep kids safe. Damon also wanted to know if the president could make school lunches better.
A bright kid with an amazing smile, Damon enjoyed being out front. His sister Candice Hardy described him as “the life of the party” in an interview with the local NBC affiliate.
“Everybody just couldn’t wait to be around him,” Hardy told WPTV. “Family gatherings were always fun because of his presence.”
The youngest of her siblings, Hardy, said Damon texted her from the hospital. He passed away before she could arrive.
A pastor in the community where Damon grew up, Rev. William Holmes, told local news that “[Damon] inspired others to be great.”
A graduate of Royal Palm Beach High School in Florida, Damon was a communications major at Albany State University in Georgia. Albany State offered the bright young reporter a full scholarship after seeing his elementary school portfolio, according to the South Florida SunSentinel.
It’s been two weeks since Damon passed away. His family continues to wait for a final determination as to his cause of death.
Hardy told the Palm Beach post her brother wanted to pursue a career in sports journalism covering the NFL. A trailblazer in student journalism, Damon paved the way for kid reporters to be more than cute novelties.
“A lot of people looked up to him,” Hardy said. “With him being so young, he made a way for more students to engage in journalism.”