LOGAN SQUARE — Teachers at Marine Leadership Academy are rallying around the family of seventh grader Emily Barrera, one of their “most beloved” students, who died earlier this month.
Emily, 13, died from suicide May 7, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and her family.
Logan Square teachers set up an online fundraiser to help the Barrera family cover the cost of memorial services for Emily. They have raised nearly $12,000 of their $15,000 goal. Donations can be made online.
Emily’s family, friends and teachers said they are struggling to cope with their loss. Her “sudden death … shocked us to our core,” teachers wrote on the fundraiser page.
This past year was Emily’s first year at Marine Leadership Academy, 1920 N. Hamlin Ave. Even though most of the school year was spent at home doing remote learning, the teen still managed to make a strong impression on many teachers.
“Emily was a funny and creative honor roll student, who worked hard and was an exceptional writer. She loved music and requested songs in class from 80s and 90s classics to silly kids songs to rare heartfelt jams. Even in remote learning, there was not a class period that went by where her impression wasn’t left on the class,” teachers wrote.
Older brother Edward Barrera said Emily loved musicals, especially “Hamilton.” When she wasn’t listening to musicals or “scream singing,” she liked to draw, Edward Barrera said.
“She was very creative,” he said.
Edward Barrera, 17, also a student at Marine Leadership Academy, said his family is grateful for the donations they’ve received. He also said his family is finding solace in spending time with relatives and friends as they mourn.
Emily’s funeral was Wednesday. The youngest in the family, she also had a 19-year-old sister and lived with her parents and brother in Hermosa.
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