By: Sharon Aron Baron
Blake’s older sister Amber said this yesterday about her brother:
Blake was my little brother, and he wasn’t being bullied, nor was he gay. None of the people that saw him every day ever saw him bullied. He was picked on, like everyone in high school was picked on, but he wasn’t tormented or harassed, and it didn’t cause this. We may never know why Blake did what he did, but please stop spreading this rumor that he was bullied. I don’t want my baby brother remembered as a victim.
Blake was only a sophomore at JP Taravella High School and was on the competitive cheerleading team.
Sadly, I suggested to JP Taravella Principal Shawn Cerra just months before Blake’s suicide, that Ana Fernandez, head of the Bradford Foundation come out and speak to the students at his school about teen suicide. Sitting with Principal Cerra at an I-Zone meeting on January 24th, I told him I had just attended the one year Memorial Service for suicide victim Bradford Fernandez just four days prior and thought it would be beneficial for his students to listen to her suicide prevention speech.
Principal Cerra seemed very interested and told me he would contact me or her.
I never heard back.
While we may never know if a suicide speech may have saved Blake’s life, we must do much more to be proactive in the future and not wait for our children to die before stepping up to talk to our students about teen suicide.
Louise Batista, JV and Competitive Cheerleading Coach at Taravella said, “Blake never exhibited any indication that he would commit suicide.”
Batista who has coached students for over 25 years knew Blake since the beginning of the school year and saw absolutely no signs that Blake would have taken his own life.
I wouldn’t have called this in a million years. There wasn’t one day where he was in a bad mood” – Louise Batista – Blake’s Cheerleading Coach
Batista said that Blake was always in a good mood, was a quick learner and would always help her with her equipment. His older brother was also a cheerleader and his mom was at every fundraiser.
“He was smart and very involved with Decca. They even won states,” said Batista.
She said that Blake was a gentleman to others and that he opened doors for women and would bring cakes for girls on their birthdays.
Last weekend may have been Blake’s tipping point, although it’s only speculation through several close friends of his: Blake was out with friends at Coral Square Mall and he was caught shop-lifting. We don’t know if this had anything to do with his suicide. In fact, at this point no on knows exactly why Blake committed suicide as there was no note.
Many people are saddened by his loss and students all over the country are tweeting comments using the hashtag #RIPBLAKE to share their feelings.
Hopefully, soon there will be answers to why we lost a promising young man.