Sword & Shield

Incredible Brothers

Anna V. Winslow

Anna V. Winslow

Anna Winslow, Editor-in-Chief

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Walking into Ms. Polin’s seventh period English 4 class on March 6, every student gave her a hug. Some were quiet, others had tears in their eyes. Earlier that week, the students had lost two classmates and friends, Juan Zuniga and Deandre “Dre” Montes.
As the students filed into the classroom, there was a sense of sadness in the air. Zuniga, who had completed a project about his life, was supposed to present it that day.
“Juan and Dre put everyone before themselves,” said Malik Rodriguez, senior. “The first time I met Juan he gave me food and a ride home, Dre always asked me what I wanted to do first.”
Zuniga, a graduating senior, and Montes, a junior, were close friends. In their free time they played basketball, went swimming, and recorded funny videos. The two were widely beloved by their friends, who described them as funny and selfless individuals.
“They were different in their view of the world and smart in their own way,” Rodriguez said.
When news of the tragedy spread, students decided to honor the two at Zuniga’s parking spot Monday morning. Friends and family gathered before school to lay flowers, bears and other symbolic items at the parking space. Among those items were Gatorade bottles, a basketball and a red bandana. Red was Zuniga’s favorite color.
“He always drank red Gatorade,” Rodriguez said.
At the memorial, Principal Henschel announced that Zuniga would be graduating with the class of 2018 and Montes would be graduating with the class of 2019. With their classmates, they will be recognized as graduates of South Plantation.
“[Juan] was really humble, always joking around, never rude to anybody,” said Lillianna Saez, senior. “He was a real sweetheart to everyone.”
Both Zuniga and Montes were talented indiviuals. Zuniga was a rapper and Montes was involved in chorus.
“[Deandre] was in our third hour and he was supposed to go to districts with us on Friday,’ said Julia Jones, Chorus member. “He seemed excited about it.”
Chorus is to perform at a viewing for Zuniga and Montes at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday, March 7. A funeral service is also planned for March 8 at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church.
Although the loss of Zuniga and Montes will forever be a sad memory for every Paladin, the light and love they brought into the lives around them will never be forgotten.

Visit the GoFundme page below for Juan Zuniga and Deandre Montes to help support their families during this difficult time.

https://www.gofundme.com/deandre-montesjuan-carlos-zuniga

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