In Memoriam: Students Share Thoughts & Memories of Those Loved and Lost

In Memoriam: Students Share Thoughts & Memories of Those Loved and Lost

The following is a collection of contributions from Peekskill High School students wishing to share their thoughts, feelings, memories and tributes of PHS’ Omarion McKenzie and Joaquin Salazar. Though these two young men are no longer with us, they remain in our hearts. 

Words and art submitted by: Alexandria Rios
Omarion was more than a friend, son and student. He was like another big brother for me. He was very close and always well-mannered around my family and me.  Omarion was so funny, athletic, caring, and grateful for everything he ever had. He was always so happy. Every time there was something wrong, he would help or make you laugh so you would feel better. He was also one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. Amazing on the field, he was also smart in the classroom and he had such a big heart. 

When I found out, it was three days before my birthday. I knew I would never see it the same.  This is someone I will never forget. Omarion has taught me so much. He handled everything in a good manner. When someone was being rude or disrespectful, he would just walk away. When someone wanted something like a snack or a drink, Omarion would be the first to say,  “Here, have some,” or “Do you need money?” 

He was so, so, so amazing, and I believe God took him from us for a reason–to be an angel guiding after all of us. He took Omarion with open arms seeing how amazing he was and how sympathetic he was. He saw Omarion as a strong leader. Yes, Omarion is no longer with us, but is he really gone? If I think about all the good times and every single time he made me laugh, every single piece of advice he has given me, I would still think he is here. 

We can’t sit here and be sad; Omarion wouldn’t want that. He would want us to cherish every moment we did have and he would want us to strive and make a change and become better people than we already are. He would want us to stop thinking negatively because if we think negative, only negative things will happen. 

This isn’t goodbye; this is see you again in another life. We will see each other again, Omarion.  It’s God’s plan for us as friends and family to reunite with our loved ones.  I love you Omarion. May you rest in Paradise!












Submitted by Christian Lopez
Joaquin was like a brother to me. He was always laughing and making jokes about me when I did something dumb. Last year’s varsity team was amazing. He would always tell me to stop being a cry baby and keep going to play the game. Joaquin was always a great motivator for me, always urging me to be better.

Submitted by Kya Jackson
Omarion was one of my closest guy friends. His energy was unmatched, and he always showed that the littlest things mattered the most. I never realized how much Omarion taught me until he passed away. I appreciate every moment I got to spend with him. I love his beautiful soul for life. I wish I could bring him back, but he’s in such a better place now, and I know he’s watching over me. Long Live Tommy.

Submitted by Malak Alwadi
I really didn’t know Joaquin, but he was a good friend of my sister; she told me Joaquin was the first one in class every single day. When we found out, I felt so bad because not only was he really young, but his family is the one suffering the most from his loss. I could never imagine a feeling like that in my life. I know how hard it is to lose someone you love and when I heard the news, my heart tore for his family and friends. I know the pain that his family has to go through is really hard and sad. He is in a better place now, and he is watching over all the people he loved. My prayers go out to all his family and friends.

Submitted by Jaime Lopez 
Omarion was a kind soul. He connected so well with everyone around him, and we became close friends. He didn’t deserve death at such a young age. His life was only beginning.

Submitted by Stephanie Chuquimarc
Joaquin, you were so bright; the sunshine to every person’s soul.

Submitted by Lionel Wadsworth
I knew Omarion Mckenzie personally, as a friend and a teammate. We have always shared many memories and laughs together since my freshman year of high school, and we grew very close during lacrosse seasons. He was an outgoing and funny guy. He told me about what he was going to do after graduation, and he was already set to play lacrosse at a community college. It made me incredibly happy to see him planning to do something he loved, helping and teaching others how to be better people and better lacrosse players.  This season, I am going to play for him and dedicate myself like never before to make him proud.

Submitted by Ariela Fajardo
Joaquin: Many times we don’t know when our time is going to come to an end.  We have to live in the present as if there were no tomorrow, doing the right thing and no matter how much we make mistakes, we can always remedy them. I hope that Joaquin finds peace and can be happy in heaven.  Life offers you many opportunities, and sometimes we do not know how to take advantage of them.  He was a great boy and I am sure he is watching over us.  To his friends and family: he will always be with you.

Submitted by Kennedy Johnson 
You were always ready to ride for the ones you cared about; I loved that about you. Your undying loyalty to people is why I’ve always had so much respect for you. Sometimes there will be instances in my day where I think to myself “Omarion woulda loved this!”, but then I remember that even if your physical being can’t be with us, your spirit will forever be; and that’s what I value the most. Blessed to have met you, and happy to have known you. In paradise may you stay, in peace may you rest.

Submitted by Pablo Avila
Joaquin:  Every time he entered a room, you felt his presence. It was a distinct feeling; he was everywhere. You’d see him around town, at the park, or simply in the hallways at school. He was never a quitter and that inspires me. Now, he is watching over all of us. We will miss him. LLJ

Submitted by BrieAnna Punter 
Keep this to myself
Family and friends missing them
Moms miss kissing ‘em
On my heart a whole ton
Someone’s lost another son.
Living through all the strife
God please don’t take a life, again.
Can’t take no more; we’re really missing our friends.
We wanna graduate and see our life till the very end.
Do it for them and the ones who can’t
Black lives matter, yes, we chant.
Fight so the system and randoms can’t take us
But the lives taken, (smack) hit like a bus.
Try and be here for each other can’t even breath myself
Great grandma passed with spazz; had to put her urn on the shelf
But I keep this to myself.

Submitted by Juliana Lituma 
Even though I may not have known Joaquin, I had seen him around Peekskill. He seemed like a kind and heartfelt person; the boy was just starting his life. He graduated and had some big plans for his future. It is sad to see a poor young boy die at such a young age; it’s something that damages people. I can’t imagine what his parents and his family members might be going through because nobody wants to see their brother or cousin pass away at such a young age. I know I didn’t know this person, but we should not wish death upon anyone because, although it might not hurt you, it hurts their family and friends. Even though Joaquin might not be here with us he will still be in our hearts. He was such a good boy and was an exceptional soccer player, an activity that he loved to do. We will never forget him.

Submitted by Cesar Culjay 
Joaquin was an amazing individual and teammate; always sticking up for us and being the brightest on the field. #LLJ

Submitted by Camila Vasquez 
Fly high, Joaquin we will all miss you, but we know you’re in a better place. R.I.P.

Submitted by Afua Yeboah
Omarion Thomas Mckenzie, definitely one to remember. Familiar to numerous as Omarion, referred to as Spazz by many, known as Tommy to plenty, and loved as Omariona by me. Despite the name, experience, and time shared with him, he will be one to remember.

His pure brown skin, the ‘locs that I have watched grow past his eyes as time went on. His smile that lit up any room he entered. The light in his eyes that never failed to shine through the blockage of his hair. The mischievous smirk that spread across the left side of his face, and his vivid yellow crocs that never failed to complete his outfit.

Tommy, a young church boy who would sit with his grandmother in the sanctuary and occasionally participate in youth-praise dances that were administered. A small boy who we watched turn into a young man. Tommy, a momma’s boy, a protector, and a sweet soul with a kind heart to match. Genuine, he always admired the beauty of his sweet dear mother and sister, to later set forth that love for black beauty and women onto his everyday interactions by never failing to affirm how beautiful they appeared to the world.

Omarion, an amazing lacrosse player with big dreams and aspirations. Passionate, proud, and honored. Looking across the field as I would work out with the track team. I would look around focusing on each player’s legs trying to differentiate him from the rest. Omarion’s legs were fairly thin but moved quickly. He used his gift of speed and coordination to excel in the sport that he loved. He moved with such swiftness and grace. He would advance with such passion and pride in his Peekskill jersey with the number three plastered across his chest.

Spazz, a large ball of energy, a burst of cheerfulness, and even seen as a breath of fresh air. Such an energetic bright soul. Spazz, an amazing dancer, who never failed to dance at the snap of a finger, with the intention of brightening someone’s day, or even just the pleasure of his own soul.

Omariona, a sweet soul I could talk to for hours and never feel discontent. Hearing the “Hello Mansah” after he would travel any distance just to reach me, making me feel as if my presence was worthwhile. As we walked down the streets, he would have his arm around my shoulder, as if he needed the support, unaware that his support and love helped me become who I am today. His rough hands that were always on my forehead for no explainable reason, yet somehow generated such a gentle touch.

An angel, before and after his last breath. Unaware of the fact that his last “tootles” was truly a goodbye. A beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, whose life was taken away. Omarion. Tommy. Spazz. Omariona. An angel, forever and a day.

Submitted by Jacob Poole
In life, you know we take a lot of things for granted. We are always trying to look at the bigger picture, but when we look back it’s the little things that matter. By little things, I mean spending time with friends, playing sports with each other. He was just a role model for me. He would always tell me to stay in school, don’t get in trouble, and make our parents proud of us. Now I see what it is as far as the small things cause–i miss u.
I am grateful for the
Times we had together
RIP Spazz

As Robert Bault writes:
“Enjoy the little things,
For one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things”






Photo shared by Ariela Fajardo Onofre:















Created by Khimani McKenzie:












Created by Nevaeh Davis












Shared by Khimani McKenzie:









Shared by Amani Cleveland:











Shared by Tylena Murray:









Shared by Mekhi Hodges: