Fremont Students Still Grieve for Isaiah

“Something I remember about Isaiah ‘Zaybo’ Smith is that he was always smiling”

March 17th, 2015

Isaiah for O News

By Stephanie Valencia & DaVonte Blackston
Media Academy @ Fremont High School

Nearly four months after sophomore Isaiah Smith was shot to death, many members of the Fremont community continue to grieve. And that grief intensified again this month for many when another Oakland teenager was killed.

Smith, who was killed shortly before noon on Nov. 29 on the 5400 block of Trask Street, is missed by both teachers and students in the Fremont community.

Maya Shweiky taught English to Smith and said she is still trying to process his death.

“There are no words to describe how I feel about it,” said Shweiky.

Shweiky said she appreciated what Smith brought to class, describing him as “very real, authentic and independent.” One of Shweiky’s many memories of Smith is reading his writing. She said she enjoyed reading his writing because he was insightful and a critical thinker.

Shweiky also recalls how well respected Smith was in class. She said he set a good example in class and influenced his peers positively.

Sophomore Rayondre Adanandus reflected on his friend in writing for the Green & Gold, describing Smith as a friendly and compassionate person.

“Something I remember about Isaiah ‘Zaybo’ Smith is that he was always smiling,” wrote Adanandus.“I remember when my brother got shot, he (Zaybo) was at the hospital everyday with me and my family. That’s when I realized we were all family. Zaybo will always live through us.”

Smith’s brother also wrote fondly about Zaybo.

“What I remember about my little bro Zaybo is that he always was happy,” wrote Kemonjie Smith. “Don’t matter what happened earlier that day, he didn’t hold it against nobody who didn’t do nothing to him.”

In the days after Smith’s death, Fremont provided grief circles and counselors for those who wanted
a safe space. Principal Emiliano Sanchez sent a letter to the Fremont community to make them aware of the loss.

However, Superintendent Antwan Wilson did not send out a press release stating that the district was mourning the loss of Smith or visit the victim’s school to express his condolences, something he did three weeks ago in response to the killing of Davon Ellis, an Oakland Tech student and football player. The difference in response was painful to many.

School district spokesman Troy Flint explained to the Green & Gold that the district recently added more staff members to handle communication and that it now has a new policy on reaching out after a student dies.

For more stories from Fremont High School’s Media Academy and Green and Gold –

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