DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – Robert Runcie, the superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, said on Wednesday three students’ deaths have had a “big, big impact" on Deerfield Beach High School.
In two months, three Deerfield Beach High School students have died in two suicides on the railroad tracks and a shooting that was related to a family conflict during a funeral.
Alexis Marion, a 17-year-old junior, died on Monday. Terrance “TeeJay” Jackson, a sophomore, died Feb. 1, a few days before his 16th birthday. Bryce Gowdy, a 17-year-old senior, died Dec. 30.
“We are going to continue to work with the administration there and make sure we are providing support -- not just to the students, but to the faculty and the entire community,” Runcie said.
WATERPOLO STAR: ALEXIS
Relatives said Alexis was an honor student and a member of the water polo team and swimming team.
“She was a really sweet girl,” said Delsyn Rivero, a Deerfield Beach student.
Alexis walked to the railroad tracks that run along North Dixie Highway near Northeast Second Street. Surveillance video shows Alexis appeared to stand on the tracks, as a northbound Brightline train approached. The impact killed her. A worker at the Seawall Doctors office said he heard the train come to a scratching halt and ran outside.
Deerfield Beach High School students are grieving again on Wednesday. The member of the school’s International Baccalaureate program was a star volleyball player, and she also ran track. She had been scheduled to participate in a TED event in March as a survivor who was outspoken and whose goal was “to be a politician and give back.”
FOOTBALL STAR: ‘TEEJAY’
Earlier this year, Terrance, a 15-year-old defensive end at Deerfield Beach High School died when he was shot in the neck after attending his grandfather’s funeral. The shooting was related to a family dispute.
Tronicia and Terrance Jackson Sr. said they watched their son take his final breath outside of Victory City Church at 163 W. 20 St.
“I’m feeling for his pulse,” she recalled through tears. “My baby kept looking at me, ‘mommy, save me.’”
FOOTBALL STAR: BRYCE
In December, Bryce, a senior and star football player who had earned a scholarship to Georgia Tech, died after a freight train struck him. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Bryce was one of the top-ranked high school wide receivers in the country.
The medical examiner ruled the promising athlete’s death a suicide.
Bryce had finished his high school courses a semester early and was working to help out his mother, Shibbon Winelle. After the suicide, she released a statement on social media saying she had been struggling financially and emotionally.
Bryce, Winelle and his two brothers were homeless again. She said she “was so stressed out” and was fighting her “own demons" when her son walked out of the hotel room to get her a blanket -- leaving his mobile phone, wallet and sneakers behind.
On Monday, Alexis left her mobile phone behind in class before following in Bryce’s footsteps.
Their school’s administrators released a statement on Tuesday: “One of our own Deerfield Beach High School students passed unexpectedly yesterday. The District is providing counseling support to the students on campus.”
Nadine Drew, a spokeswoman for Broward County Public Schools, also released a statement: “Our condolences and thoughts go out to the student’s family, friends and the community.”
After a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas during 2018 Valentine’s Day, Deerfield Beach High School students participated in solidarity marches.
Some Deerfield Beach students regularly used #MSDStrong to ask lawmakers to work on gun control and increase funding for mental health resources.