2019-2020 News Slider — 22 May 2020
Gone too soon

Oakland High mourns beloved 2019 graduate John Suede

Kya Pearson

John Suede, a class of 2019 graduate, waits with classmates on an ESA trip to Catalina Island in April 2019.

John Suede, a class of 2019 graduate, waits with classmates on an ESA trip to Catalina Island in April 2019.

Oakland High graduate John Suede passed away due to a heart attack on May 9, according to teachers close to him.

John was an immigrant student from the Philippines, who joined first the RISE pathway, then ESA, and played soccer with coach Miguel Hernandez. John graduated in the class of 2019, making his family proud.  

“John lit up every room he walked into, and made everyone around him comfortable,” wrote Rumeli Snyder, the social worker for the RISE pathway. “His smile, his desire to help others, his sense of humor, his belief in justice and his love of learning made students and staff all love him.”

Classmates and teachers remembered Suede as a warm, loving person. 

Valeska Muñoz, who was John’s physiology teacher, wrote, “He was hungry for knowledge, he loved learning, he loved asking questions, and also answering them.” Muñoz enjoyed the stories he told to his classmates about how he wanted to accomplish his dreams and encouraged others to accomplish theirs too. 

Muñoz remembered when John would take risks, not caring if he looked silly. John was on a field trip to Black Diamond Mines, then the two of them decided to race up a hill. “I swear I blinked then all of a sudden he was ahead of me,” said Muñoz. 

The first time Snyder met John was when they went to the Oakland Ice Center in March 2018, when John was at the academy of RISE. John participated in the group for newcomer and mainstream students where Snyder and case manager Karina Castillo facilitated.

Snyder remembered a fun moment when RISE students went to the hip hop exhibit at the Oakland Museum, and there was a mic for anyone to come up and rap. John was the student that went up bravely. When he came to find out it was the security guard’s birthday, John sang “Happy Birthday” in Tagalog. 

There was a memorial service on Wednesday, May 20. Those wishing to help John’s family may donate to a gofundme account established in his memory. 

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