Juno’s world

Valli Ford, Opinion Editor

One adored by many, and a man of his word, passion and character, West High junior Jesus “Juno” Ramirez Jr. passed away on April 8 in a car crash on the 120 bypass in Manteca, along with former West High student Guillermo “Memo” Aguilera.

In the classroom, Ramirez was a productive student, shown through the quality of his work and his vibrant personality. English teacher Melissa Stewart expressed how Ramirez was “amazing…he always was concerned for others, so it seemed natural that he was a people person. Juno naturally blended with people; he cared about everyone.” Although Stewart had just met him this year, Ramirez always made her day with his attitude. “He always had a smile on his face and always said good morning to me. He made it a point to say ‘good morning’ and ‘have a good day’ every day.” According to Stewart, Ramirez was the first to volunteer to answer questions, and he always had something new to contribute. Her fondest memory with him was “the sound of laughter in his class. Just him…being who he is. He was a big focus in class, in a good way…just encouraging.” Ramirez was one of those students she’ll never forget. “Every time I walked into the classroom, I always expected him to be there. I really miss him. It was a huge loss for us. I didn’t realize how important he was to so many, including me.”

Agricultural Biology and Chemistry teacher Grace Minton also had some words to say about Ramirez. In her classroom, Ramirez was “probably the funniest kid in class. He would spark up a conversation about everything. I always sat him up front because he was really social, so I had to keep him close.” Ramirez always tried his best and worked hard on his assignments. “If he didn’t put in [his] full effort, I knew that all I had to do was talk to him, and he would put in his full effort.” Ramirez would also lighten up the classroom. “He was a good kid to talk to…we joked around a lot. My sixth period gets quiet, but he kept it alive and vibrant.” For Minton, there was never a moment she felt frustrated with Ramirez. “Whenever he did something that I didn’t like, he would shoot me a smile and say ‘sorry.’” Ramirez had impacted Minton’s life, for she’s learned to “appreciate every moment we have [with students]. All students are wonderful. Take this time to get to know them.” Though having expressed her sentiments, Minton’s final statement was “Everyone knows how wonderful he was. There’s nothing I can say that can express as much as what’s already known.”

Among his peers, Ramirez was just as positive around them as he was in the classroom. Junior Dale De Guzman knew Ramirez’s best quality was “his smile. I’ve never seen him mad. He was always positive and he made other people smile and laugh. He made sure that everyone was smiling.” According to De Guzman, he’s never seen him sad. “He always wanted to hang out with friends…he was like another brother and role model to me. Even though he was younger than me, he felt like an older brother.” One of De Guzman’s fondest memories with Ramirez would be listening to music together. “We would be in the house listening to 90s RnB, and he would be singing and dancing to the music as it was blasting.” Ramirez would always try to keep peace and balance, as “it was what he showed and talked about.”

Junior Samuel Gayares had also shared a few words about Ramirez. “Juno was really one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. He always had a smile…I never saw him mad. He knew how to turn a bad situation into a happy one. He was a real happy man.”  One of Gayares’ favorite memories with Ramirez was “playing video games with him. He would get mad when I beat him. [I] thought it was funny.”

Being another close friend of Ramirez, junior Christian Diaz spoke out about him. “One of his best qualities was his overall happiness,” said Diaz. “Even on a bad day, he came to school happy.” Ramirez was the type of person who was spiritual, but not religious. “He believed in peace and positivity. He saw things differently, and he believed in astrology and spiritual things.” As he reminisced on past memories, Diaz recalled one of his favorites, which was “just going to Joe’s house. It would be Angel, Sam, Juno, Joe and myself. We would go to Joe’s RV and chill, do dumb stuff and be guys. We’d do it every week.” Like De Guzman and Gayares, Ramirez was a brother to Diaz. “He was my best friend. We had always been close, we did almost everything together.”

As a way of displaying their grief, West High created and displayed posters and shirts that had “47” and “#JunosWorld,” while some students made their own shirts with a similar message. “47 means peace and balance, it’s why he wrote it every day,” said Gayares. “Juno’s World was made up by other people.”

At first, Ramirez didn’t have plans for his future. “He didn’t see himself going to college,” said Diaz. “He didn’t know if he had the grades for it. He wanted to follow his passion, and writing was a form of release for him. It was one of the things he was good at.” Then, it was decided that Ramirez’s plans had changed, for they were to make it big with Gayares in the music industry. They would produce rap music, and Gayares would be Ramirez’s producer.

“Everyone should keep his positivity as a message and spread that wherever you could,” said Diaz. “Juno would tell me ‘positivity is a mindset. If you have a negative mind, you’d have a negative life.’ I feel West should keep moving, and keep Juno in our hearts.”