And so many friends, as told by two classmates
Robert was an amazing teammate, track captain, and friend to everyone. At Wootton, Robert took track very seriously but made it incredibly fun at the same time. He always gave it his all, and got everyone else energized to work hard and have a good time. He was a role model and leader to so many. The entire team, both coaches and athletes, admired Robert’s enthusiasm, dedication, and determination. Robert’s spirit and energy pushed his teammates to their limits as he cheered them on and got them pumped up in both practices and meets. It didn’t matter how good a teammate was or what their event was—Robert was there to support them with his contagious energy.
It was incredible how many friends Robert had, but the more amazing thing is that he truly cared about every single one of them and made each person feel special. It seemed like he befriended almost every person he met, and there was nothing fake or forced about it; that’s just how Robert was. He glowed everywhere he went; his laughter, smile, craziness and loudness could never be ignored, and his mere presence could make your day. Robert had the most charisma and sincerity that a person could have. His friendship qualities were so versatile, and he could be counted on for so many things: a listening ear, advice, and always a good time. Robert was truly a great friend, and a best friend to so many.
Footnote: At the Spring 2008 Track Awards Banquet, Robert's team voted for Robert to win the Patriots Award, giving for his outstanding leadership and sportsmanship.
Robert ran track at Wootton High School for four years. In those four years he saw at least five different coaches, and countless teammates but I would say confidently that every one of them have some kind of outstanding memory of him. Robert was a presence on the team. He was loud. If Robert cheered, you could hear him. He knew how to have fun whether it was playing a prank on the coach, picking you up and twirling you around, or whipping off his shirt, running around and comparing his abs to everyone else. And that fun loving and loud boy you couldn’t ignore turned out to be quite the leader. By example, he never gave up. He pushed harder, and never slowed down unless his body made him. The look on his face during any race could tell you that. By enthusiasm, he pushed others. Running beside a straggler, telling anyone he passed to “keep it up,” or screaming with as much force as his lungs could provide were behaviors not uncommon to Robert’s tenure as a Wootton Patriot. He wore his jersey with pride, pumped everyone up with his spirit, and ran every race like it was his last. Robert’s running didn’t stop at the track. He ran everywhere. In our circle of friends it was a running (no pun intended) joke that if given enough open space, Robert would stride, not walk, to his next destination. That was just Robert’s approach to life: enthusiastic, high energy excitement.
To sum Robert Yin up as a friend is impossible. To say that he was an amazing friend is an understatement. But, he was a friend to all. He even insisted on trying to bridge the language gap between him and my Cantonese speaking grandmother. Robert greeted you with the excitement of a friend you hadn’t seen in years. He even stained my soccer shorts with face paint on a pep rally day when he insisted on flipping me over and carrying my upside down over his shoulder. And you always knew when Robert was entering a room. The party started with Robert.