Services will be held Sunday for Joey Ferrara, 13, who died shortly after midnight Wednesday at his home in Pleasanton from what the Alameda County coroner's office said was an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
He had attended both Hart and Harvest Park middle schools before being placed in Opportunity/Village, a special school for middle school students who need additional tutoring and counseling. He was in the eighth grade.
In a statement issued by Graham-Hitch Mortuary in Pleasanton, his parents, Lydia and Jim Ferrara said:
"Joey was an unbridled spirit capable of creating love and joy in everyone he met. He possessed a level of compassion and understanding well beyond his years. Athletically, Joey possessed a work-ethic and maturity that created a sense of amazement in everyone who saw him. He was an intense yet fun-loving young man."
Besides his parents, Joey Ferrara is survived by his brother Jimmy, a sophomore at Foothill High School.
An open memorial will be held at the Graham-Hitch mortuary in Pleasanton from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday, May 1. There will be an open mike for anyone who wants to share their memories of Joey.
"We are extremely saddened by the tragedy that occurred and offer our deepest condolences to the student's family and friends," said Parvin Ahmadi, Superintendent of the Pleasanton school district.
"Our administrative and counseling staff are working diligently to respond to concerns around this tragedy with our students," she added. "We will continue our pro-active approach to help our students and provide them appropriate support. Our thoughts are with the student's family, and we honor their privacy during these very difficult times."
Hart Middle School Principal Terry Conde sent a letter to parents, offering counseling to students and suggested parents pay additional attention to their children in coming days.
In the letter, Conde wrote:
"We are taking steps to provide support to students, staff and families during this time of loss," Conde said. "Counselors have been available all day providing counseling services to affected students needing support. This support will be available for as long as it is necessary.
"I anticipate that the next few days will be particularly difficult for everyone. Please keep in mind that it is not uncommon for children to exhibit fears, poor concentration, nightmares, physical complaints, withdrawal, eating and sleep difficulties, crying or irritability.
"Over the course of the days to come, please keep lines of communication open with your child and allow him/her to express feelings in a non-judgmental climate. If you wish to speak with someone concerning your child, contact our school counselors at 925-426-4881."