Blair senior Paris Essoumba committed suicide Monday evening at his home in Silver Spring. He was 17 years old. Crisis management teams will be available this week to help students and staff cope with the news of his death, according to Acting Principal Myriam Rogers.
Second period teachers read a message to classes on Tuesday morning informing students of Essoumba's death. Rogers did not have any specific information as to why Essoumba took his own life. "People describe him as a very happy person," she said. "It kind of came out of nowhere." News of Essoumba's death was first made public on Facebook on Monday.
Counselors followed Essoumba's schedule to be present for students in those classes, according to Rogers. Psychologists, Blair counselors, counselors from local schools and pupil personnel workers from Montgomery County Public Schools were also available on Tuesday to provide grief support.
Essoumba was a member of the varsity football team and the hip-hop group Those Guys. An avid rapper, he regularly performed at SGR Spectacular and Silver Quill open mic events. "His mom described that he would spend hours at his friend's recording studio," Rogers said.
Essoumba's friends described him as a lover of poetry and music whose sense of humor made him stand out in a crowd. "He always made me laugh," senior Imani Pierre said. "We'd exchange big cute smiles back and forth in the hallways."