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In Memoriam of Santa Barbara High School Community Lost in the Past Decade

This decade has been an iconic one to say the least, with significant evolutions in technology, scientific breakthroughs, and historical political events that have taken place, especially in the more recent years. These things are acknowledged almost daily, for good reason, but we should also reflect on the people we have lost in our own Santa Barbara High School community in the past ten years. 

With contributing factors including increased suicide rates, drug abuse, and the recent natural disasters, we have experienced the loss of more people than the average school. These events should not happen as often as they do, but each time we’ve encountered a loss of one of our students, I have never seen a community come together so tightly, for examples: In 2017, MAD student, athlete, friend, son, and brother Connor O’Keefe passed away on March 11th. It was my first year at SBHS, and every day school was filled with energy, school spirit, and rambunctious students constantly roaming around the campus. The weeks following his death shed to light the impact that Connor brought to the entire community. The halls were silent, heads were down, and students travelled in packs, reflecting the loyalty that they had for Connor, and each other. 

In the year following, our community experienced multiple tragedies when the mudslides struck Montecito. Relatives, friends, and homes were lost in a matter of hours, and the Santa Barbara community united for months after to ensure safety, recovery, and give condolences to those affected. SBHS lost one of our own, junior Jack Cantin. Again, our school came together to cope with the loss, and to remember his legacy. Later that school year, we lost Andrew Hernandez, another junior. The pattern continued; his class and his team grew even closer to each other and made sure everyone got the support they needed. 

Community members have made sure these students’ names will never be forgotten by pasting stickers on their cars, binders, and anywhere else they fit. You can find their names all around Santa Barbara on telephone poles, city signs and park benches and tables. With this being the decade of social media, we’ve used tags like #HonnorConnor and #JackCan to remind each other of the impact that these kids had on everyone in our community. 

I am extremely impressed with the way our school copes with these unusual and horrible situations. Each time we come together and protect each other, considering everyone’s feelings and creating new bonds that will never be broken. 

In Memoriam, 2010-2019

Michael Jimenez- July 3, 2013 (football coach)

Nicholas “Nick” Johnson- March 24, 2014 (graduated student)

Connor O’Keefe- March 11, 2017 (student)

Cody Irwin- June 1, 2017 (student)

Jack Cantin- January 9, 2018 (student)

Andrew Hernandez- May 15, 2018 (student)

Ahrlenny Wendy Hernandez- February 26, 2019 (student)


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