Joaquin Oliver

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Whether it be for his flashy blonde-dyed hair, his love for the Venezuelan national soccer team or his relentless support for the Miami Heat and his favorite player, Dwyane Wade, Joaquin Oliver, or "Guac" to those who knew him, brought a smile to the face of everyone he came into contact with. 

He knew who he was and lived as that person unapologetically, never changing himself to please others and sticking true to the moral compass that guided him in life. Unlike most high schoolers, he was comfortable in his own skin and unafraid to display that for the world to see. 

"He kind of went from a caterpillar to a butterfly," said is sister Andrea. "He found who he wanted to be. He would say "you gotta be who you are. Who cares what anyone else says?' He really lived his life to the fullest and stayed true to himself."

Part of his new attitude toward his social life was thanks to his extremely close-knit group of friends that stuck by him through thick and thin, many of them having known each other for years. Their friend group became so close that one's home was all of their homes, and one's family was all of their families. 

They went to parties, dinner and sports games together daily, and it was stranger to see them apart than it was to see them together.

One of the greatest bonds that Joaquin had with his friends was their mutual love for watching and playing sports. Starting with baseball as a kids, Joaquin played a number of sports over his childhood years, but he found his calling in his love for basketball. He and his friends walked to Pine Trails Park almost daily since their elementary school days to play basketball. 

ESPN was always on TV in his house, and when that wasn't on, he had sport-themed video games as various as the sports he played. Joaquin's love for basketball started from a young age, as he was a Dwyane Wade and Miami Heat fan since he was 4 or 5 years old. 

Joaquin Friends and family of Joaquins will come together to create a mural in his honor at Bethune Elementary School. Volunteers will also help to resurface the basketball court in order for kids at the school to enjoy the game as much as Joaquin did.

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*information and quotes provided by the Eagle Eye Newspaper