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Candles for Chris: Olive Peirce Middle School Mourns a Lost Light

At least 400 students and family members gather to grieve as one for eighth-grader Chris Jaquez.

Karl Lampe, surrounded by weeping students, clicked two drumsticks together four times­—just as Chris Jaquez would have done. Then a dozen of Lampe’s eighth-grade musicians began playing a tune for more than 400 students and family members gathered Wednesday night at Olive Peirce Middle School.

A candlelight vigil for Chris, 13, who died Monday, was a scene of tears, embraces and quiet shows of affection and memory.

“If you got to meet him, in 10 minutes you loved him,” Lampe told a crowd packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the heart of the Hanson Lane campus, just outside the band room where Chris was a drummer learning horns and looking forward to joining the marching band at Ramona High School.

Lampe read a short note from Chris’ parents, expressing thanks for the support they’d received from the Olive Peirce family and closing: “We want you to know that we deeply appreciate what you’ve done here tonight to honor Chris. It has touched our hearts.”

No immediate family members were present. Besides his parents, Chris also had two brothers, one 16 and one in college. But an aunt from San Diego stood on a staircase videotaping the ceremony.

Band members lit candles and passed them to a crowd that extended to a second-floor landing overlooking the courtyard. Science teacher Myles Vandegrift said a prayer.

Then on a count of three, students blew out their candles.  The lights were out, but not their feelings. Tears continued to flow.

Frankie Berkley Newberg September 20, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Having lost my husband to suicide last March my heart is breaking for the family and friends of Chris. Only God gets me through each day. It is a pain that does not go away. Sending love, hugs and prayers to all that have been touched during this sorrowful time.
A friend October 25, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I was there I am in the core band Chris played drums in thank you so much for your prays and condolences we love Chris so much, miss, and think about our loving, beautiful Chris every day. Ramona as a couminity has helped us get through this terrible time thank you so much. One of Chris's close friends

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