Jonathan Baltazar stands in the center with his mother and with Agnes Warrick, to her left, the mother of Roger Warrick.
The eighth grade graduation ceremony at St. Patrick Church in Oakland last month brought together two families that have had their share of heartbreak.
High school-bound Jonathan Baltazar was young when his father was killed by a random act of violence. Not only did the tragedy devastate his family emotionally, they were left to face great financial hardship. Despite the loss, Jonathan focused on his school work. He had the highest grade point average — nearly a perfect 4.0 — in his graduating class. He has been accepted into Saint Mary's College High School in Berkeley.
Roger Warrick, a parishioner at St. Patrick Parish, lost his life in another senseless tragedy last August at the age of 20. The fatal shooting occurred near the west Oakland church. His parish family reached out to Warrick's family in prayer and consolation.
The parish, which raises funds throughout the year to help a student who graduates from St. Martin de Porres Regional School pay tuition at a Catholic high school, honored the life of the slain young man by establishing a $1,000 scholarship in Roger Warrick's name. The scholarship is meant to be perpetual and awarded every year, according to Rev. George Quickley, SJ, St. Patrick pastor.
Agnes Warrick, Roger's mother, presented the scholarship to Jonathan after the church service. "It felt good," she said when she handed the document to the now ninth grader. "What was good about it is that he (Jonathan) is such a nice person. He said "thank you." Warrick recalled. After everyone had gone home Jonathan again called Mrs. Warrick to say "thank you."
Mrs. Warrick was also moved that her parish set up the scholarship and honored her son in this way.
"Roger was good natured," Mrs. Warrick said, noting that her son was very close and attentive to the children in his life: his nieces, nephews and godchild. "They loved him and miss him so much. We all do."
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