We are heartbroken after learning that one of our KIPP Sol Academy alumni and Ednovate Esperanza students, Jaime, was killed tragically. Jaime was a charismatic, soulful 17-year-old boy with an infectious smile and enormous heart, remembered so fondly and with love by all fortunate enough to have known him.
Messages from Our Team & Family
Katie Martens (Johnson), former English & Homeroom Teacher (KIPP Sol)
Jaime was an incredibly beloved member of KIPP Sol. He was kind, thoughtful, and had a smile that lit up a room. I had the honor of teaching him in 6th and 7th grades and he was a proud member of my homeroom, the University of Michigan. Jaime knew every teacher in the school and would often pop his head into classrooms to just say hi. That’s who he was - a kid who had a connection with every single adult in the school. He also built friendships across all grade levels. Jaime was known as a kind kid, one with a huge heart, always willing to lend a hand or listen. He greeted me every day with a smile and always asked me how I was doing. He loved to help and often organized my library or passed out papers without being asked. I loved teaching him and seeing him find books that he loved. He was such a bright light every day.
I saw Jaime often after he culminated 8th grade when I would visit Subway or the donut shop. Every time he got off his skateboard, gave me a big hug, and told me about high school and his grades. He was proud of his growth and glowed when he told me he got tutoring to improve his science grade. He shared with me that he wanted to be a good role model to his sister and how excited he was when his brother got accepted to college. I saw him most recently near the end of this past school year with a colleague. As always he greeted us with a hug, that infectious smile, and updates. He was excited for his senior year, for his new classes, and for his future.
My favorite memory of Jaime is his enthusiastic participation in our homeroom chant. I have a video of our homeroom chant - “It’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine!” - and Jaime can be seen smiling from ear to ear. He helped plan the grand finale of the cheer, which involved his classmate doing a slam dunk. He led our homeroom to victory in many a field day, always cheering on his classmates. I will always remember him as a boy who was full of life and hope - one who, without a doubt, would have changed the world. Jaime was an incredibly bright light and he will be so missed. We love you Jaime, and you will be in our hearts forever.
Jennifer Jacques, Former Science & Homeroom Teacher (KIPP Sol)
I was lucky enough to teach Jaime during his 7th and 8th grade year at KIPP Sol Academy. As the school year began, I got to know Jaime more and more. He was such a kind and caring person. Jaime was the type of student that could really understand his peers and even his teachers. He could tell when someone was having an off day and ask them, "Are you okay?" "Would you like to talk about it?" He would offer to help other students, even when he didn't quite understand the content himself... but that was the kind of person he was.
Every Friday we would have a community circle with our homerooms. I had worked hard to build a culture of being able to share without judgment and having a safe space to share. Jaime had asked to join our community circle one Friday (he was in another homeroom) and my homeroom agreed to invite him in. That day Jaime shared, he spoke about loss and how much he missed one of his family members. He cried and my entire homeroom got up and gave him a giant group hug. He came every Friday after that to our community circles. All of us would talk, share, laugh, cry and Jaime would be there in the middle of all of it... listening, showing that he cared just as we all did for him. He had such a big heart and shared it with everyone at KIPP Sol... lifted his fellow students, helped younger struggling students and brought smiles to all of his teachers. The loss of this kind soul hurts more than I can convey. My heart goes out to his family and all Sol advocates who were lucky enough to know him.
Brianna Casiano, Former Biology Teacher and Assistant Principal (Ednovate Esperanza)
Jaime is one of the sweetest students I had the opportunity to teach. He was always willing to ask for help and provide help to his peers when needed. He loved doing experiments and participating in our grade level wide trivia competitions. The day before he passed he asked to be put into an AP class because he wanted to prove he could and to make sure his GPA was as high as it could be this year as he was filling out his college applications. When I brought him his new schedule with the AP class, his face lit up and he promised he would make us proud. I will remember that smile forever.
We will miss him deeply and will keep his light in our hearts forever. The Ednovate Esperanza and KIPP SoCal communities extend our heartfelt sympathies to Jamie’s family and friends. As we continue to process his untimely death and learn more information on how we can support, his family has shared a GoFundMe page to offset funeral services, should you wish to donate.
In Community With Love,
KIPP SoCal Public Schools