Teen who jumped to his death recalled as a friend of the underdog
The 15-year-old boy who committed suicide last week by jumping off a building at Crescenta Valley High School was remembered Wednesday as a doting brother, an outdoor enthusiast and a champion of the marginalized.
A standing-room-only crowd at Drew Ferraro's funeral at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Tujunga included hundreds of students and staff from Crescenta Valley High, where the was a sophomore, as well as dozens of officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood division, where his father works.
"He always wanted to take care of the underdogs, the ones that were kind of left behind," Cindi Rivas said of her nephew. "He would go over there and make himself one of them just because he didn't want them to feel uncomfortable."
Drew was born without fear, his parents and two sisters said in a eulogy read by Montrose Church Pastor Gabby Leon, and by the age of 5 he had withstood more surgical staples and stitches than most adults, the Glendale News-Press reported.
Just like his dad, he was sneaky and loved to scare people, they said. He was also sarcastic and always ribbing those closest to him. They recounted a more recent stunt in which Drew stripped naked, wrapped himself in bubble wrap and ran down the street.
"For those not fortunate enough to know his laugh, it is a tragedy," his family said. "He had one of those laughs that made a person laugh even louder. It was infectious and wonderful. Drew's giggle was the most fantastic ever, it could bring a smile to anyone."
Left unexplained has been what may have prompted the the boy to jump to his death.
The Glendale Unified School District and law enforcement officials have denied that bullying played a role in Drew's suicide, but it is a question that has been raised repeatedly during the last six days, perhaps most poignantly at the funeral Wednesday.
On the back of the program distributed to the audience was a picture of Drew, and the message "zero tolerance for bullying." It included links and telephone numbers to anti-bullying organizations. Small cards and blue rubber bracelets with a similar message were also handed out.
"We know what the officials are saying, but no one has asked us," Kathlene Ferraro Francis, Drew's aunt, said of the back of the program.
She declined to elaborate, but said that the family intends to speak publicly on the issues soon.
-- Megan O'Neil, Times Community News
Photo: A memorial with a portrait of Drew Ferraro at Crescenta Valley High School on Tuesday. Credit: Raul Roa / Staff Photographer