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From Tragedy a Community Comes Together

In the wake of Red Bank Regional senior Riyadh'Na Farrow's death, compassion comes from many.

On a night of heavy rain, hundreds packed into Pilgrim Baptist Church to say goodbye to a young woman who by the accounts of fellow students, teachers, and the community at large was a shining light.

Red Bank Regional High School senior and borough resident Riyadh’Na Farrow, known to her friends as “Ri-Ri,” was pronounced dead early Sept. 10 after police responded to a 911 call of an unresponsive female at her home in Montgomery Terrace. No cause of death has been determined. The 18 year old had just started her senior year of high school.

In Farrow’s death, however, the community has come together, not only to remember her life, but also to help each other cope and to provide care and support for her loved ones as long as it’s necessary.

The scene of her funeral, witnessed by RBR Superintendent Jim Stefankiewicz and recounted at the district’s board meeting Wednesday night, was a testament to Farrow’s personality and spirit. Students recalled memories of their good friend; teachers remembered a bright student; the community mourned a young woman who was always happy and having a good time.

Following Farrow’s death, the community has made an effort to help support her family. According to Stefankiewicz, RBR students, teachers, and administrators alike helped raise money through donations and bake sales to defray the cost of Farrow’s funeral expenses.

The school’s teachers have also come together to provide comfort and support in the form of prepared meals. According to school officials, teachers have scheduled meals to be delivered to the family for the next six weeks. Should the need for support extend beyond that time, the community is more than willing to provide.

"It’s just been an outpouring of support from all communities,” Stefankiewicz said following a moment of silence for Farrow. “I think this is the epitome of what being a part of the Buccaneer community is all about.”

Board member Emily Doherty also lauded the schools teachers for their support.

“This all came from their hearts and their pockets and I think we should thank them for it,” she said.

According to Farrow’s obituary, the senior was an honor student who was preparing to attend college at the University of South Florida after graduation. She was enrolled in college prep classes and worked part time at Super Foodtown.

“She loved to sing and dance, among other things, to have a good time,” her obituary read. “Her contagious smile would brighten a rainy day, as we all know.”

Lori Lustica September 20, 2012 at 05:46 PM
On September 14th, people from all walks of life came together to honor the memory of one of our own. On Tuesday night's going home service held at the Pilgrim Baptist Church, there was standing room only as the community gathered to bid farewell to Riyadh'Na Farrow, a bright and shining star who will never get to experience the many things she was destined to achieve. Riyadh'Na set the bar very high for her peers, and my advice to all that knew her and to the ones that didn't...follow her lead. Be inspired by what she accomplished in her short time on earth. Talk to one another, learn and teach one another, be kind to and love one another.... Riyadh'Na would have it no other way....
Leah Ashton September 20, 2012 at 06:34 PM
i knew this young lady in passing. whenever i came into foodtown(where she worked) she was always polite and smiling. I am blown away by the community's compassion for this family. I do hope it continues and that it spreads to anyone in our town needing help. I truly hope that it doesn't take another tragedy for us to come together.

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