Students and teachers remember sophomore Chris Johnson


photo by Victoria Tomeo

Students, teachers, local law enforcement, and family gathered at Round Lake Park to hold a vigil for sophomore Chris Johnson on Monday, April 17.

Victoria Tomeo, Lifestyles Editor

On Saturday, May 6 at 2 p.m., students, teachers, administrators, friends and family gathered together in the courtyard for a memorial that recognized sophomore Christopher Johnson. The Action Church staff, vice principal Christie Bryce and the Johnson family coordinated the memorial and its many speakers, including Action Church youth pastor Kyle Krause.

Rock N’ Brews donated food for the memorial and cards were passed out with a poem about Johnson, provided by his mother Lakeisha Johnson.

“He moved people with his smile,” Johnson said. “He was a very, very soft-spoken child that had ambition, and as parents, we had ambition to make sure those dreams came true.  It’s something that we worked on as a family and we’re still working on, even though [Chris] is gone.”

Johnson died early Sunday, April 16 after he was found pinned under a van. Authorities said he was involved in an attempted robbery during a marijuana deal. A vigil was held the following Monday at Round Lake Park and hundreds of people came out to remember the friend or family member they lost.

“I just remember seeing him on his last day, asking him on the corner if he needed a ride home,” junior Chris Martini said. “It’s not a goodbye, it’s an ‘I’ll see you soon.’”

Students wore red t-shirts, Johnson’s favorite color, the day of the vigil and family members and friends released red balloons into the sky at sunset before the crowd gathered at the center of the park for the vigil.

Sometimes he didn’t even have to say anything, he could just grin and that was enough.”

— Sarah Jarem

“He was always trying to make people laugh,” freshman Julian Perez said. “Whenever he was happy, everybody else was happy.”

English teacher Sarah Jarem and math teacher Erika Keller were close to Johnson and were some of the teachers hit the hardest from his passing. Jarem now has a wall in her classroom dedicated to the student who continuously made her laugh.

“He was always very, very well dressed and we would tease each other about who wore the most ‘ice’ that day,” Jarem said. “He had the best smile.”

To friends and family, Chris was known as the class clown and the person everybody wanted to be around. Close friend senior Patrick Hicks defined Johnson as “having absolutely no hate in his heart” and being “such a cool kid.” His twin sister, sophomore Cymer’hia Johnson, recalled that he loved to make music and often tried to learn the ins and outs of video game softwares, which motivated him to be an engineer.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Chris loved life,” Lakeisha Johnson said. “If I am sure of anything, it’s that Chris knew what he wanted in life and he was intent to achieve it.”