Lamar High School paid tribute to Ja’Shawn Poirier, a student who was killed last month on Friday as a special ceremony was held in his memory. Dozens of students and families congregated in the school’s gymnasium for the solemn event, marking what would have been Poirier’s 17th birthday.
Poirier was killed outside the high school on March 20th, when, according to the Arlington Police, another student approached him with a shotgun and opened fire, taking his life. The perpetrator, a 15-year-old student, was taken into custody. The event was marked with sadness as Jacob, the victim’s mother, openly expressed her sorrow. “It doesn’t feel right. It’s off. He’s missing when he’s supposed to be here,” she said.
Lamar High School principal Andy Hagman, who was one of the first to get to the scene of the incident, said that the event was surreal. “To see one of your kids in what was very clearly a life or death situation was just unreal, but you just fall into action,” he said. Another student who attended the event, Dalton Cardwell, said he attended to show support as a parent. “Such sadness for her [Jacob]. That she won’t have her son anymore,” he said.
Poirier’s older sister, Nautica Jacob, who dropped him off at school shortly before the incident, shared her experience, noting the difficulties that the family has been facing since the tragic event. “It’s been very hard for me. I have not been able to sleep,” she said. “I never really knew how other people’s pain felt when it happened to them until it happened to me.”
Part of the ceremony involved a balloon release while the crowd sang ‘happy birthday’ to Poirier, taking solace in the balloons’ ascent into the sky as they were filled with bright green colors. The incident is still subject to an ongoing investigation, and no motive has yet been released. Nonetheless, the event brought the school community together to grieve, offer condolences and solidarity for the Poirier family, and to remember Poirier’s life.