School remembers life of drowning victim

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dozens of red balloons sailed into the air above Jacksonville's northwest side Monday in honor of a teen drowning victim.

Last week, Rueben Dachoute, 18, attempted to go swimming during spring break with a friend in the St. John's River, but drowned in the process.

Authorities said the current in the Arlington area was too strong on that day and Dachoute could not recover.

The teen's sudden death sent shock waves not only across his close group of friends, but many people got online and used #RIPRueben to send their condolences.

Monday was their first time back in school together since the tragedy, classmates turned to social media to organize a "Red for Rueben" tribute.

A large group of students and staff members gathered around 8 a.m. in a parking lot at Paxon School for Advanced Studies for a balloon release.

Every single person was wearing a red piece of clothing. Others wore bow ties in recognition of Dachoute's signature look.

The teenager is remembered as a fun-loving and personable member of the band and many other academic groups. His friend, Benzell Lang, a fellow Paxon senior, told First Coast News there wasn't a bad thing to say about him.

"He was very involved in band. It's one of his biggest loves, so if you ask any band member, they can give you everything about him. Rueben was just so energetic. You never saw him without a smile on his face," Lang said.

Dachoute's pastor, Michael Guerra, previously told First Coast News the teen was heavily involved at church.

He even earned the nickname "Mr. Everything."


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