Rain poured outside Our Lady of Lourdes Church as hundreds of people gathered to remember Drew Ferraro, a Crescenta Valley High School student, who killed himself by jumping off a building at the school during lunchtime. He was 15.
Family members wore black Converse shoes, a favorite for Drew.
The Pastor Rev. Freddie Chua led the Wednesday morning homily before Drew's family, classmates, school teachers and Los Angeles Police Department officers--who came in support of Drew's father, John, who is an LAPD officer.
Chua recalled the family's memories of Drew, including how his love of adventure often led to trips to the hospital, or cuts, bruises and staples. Chua told of the time Drew wrapped himself naked in bubble wrap and ran into the street.
"People should remember Drew for his love of adventure, as a young man who had no fear and brought joy and happiness to family, friends and the people who knew him," Chua said.
"In this time of difficulty we are called to remember his death not by the circumstances of his death but his life," Chua said.
Time is what it will take for the community to heal, Chua said.
"As time passes, pain will be lessened," Chua said. "It will not disappear but pain will pass."
Mourners watched a photo slideshow of Drew with his sisters, parents Deana and John, other familiy members and friends. Images of Drew with silly faces, posing in his baseball, basketball and football uniforms passed in front of the crowd. In one photo, he sat at the beach, with sand buried up to his neck and his head resting in the sun.
"What's significant about Drew is not how he died but how he lived," Montrose Church Pastor Gabby Leon said on behalf of the Ferraro family.
His family remembers him as "amazingly, extremely sarcastic in a fun-loving way," and a kid who loved penguins, Converse shoes and, on the sly, had a meaningful love of country music. Drew loved to sport a fedora hat, aviator glasses and had a selfless personality, optimistic attitude and infectious giggle, his family said.
Drew loved the Colorado River, where he could wakeboard and cruise, the family said. He was great at hiding and playing paintball, so good in fact that as he once hid a dog peed on him in hiding, the Ferraros recalled.
Many students struggling with Drew's suicide attended the funeral.
The Rev. Edward Dover said he met with teens from the Crescenta Valley throughout the weekend, and explained that many people had come to him with questions about Drew's decision to kill himself.
"To the young people, please don't think that this ever might be a good decision," Dover said.