He became an internet sensation after petitioning his school, last fall, to have his cat included in his yearbook picture. The 17 year old native of New York, apparently took his own life away according to the police and the teen’s parents. Just when he was to fulfill his dream, calling awareness to the care of animals, his young life was extinguished for reasons unknown. It was a tragic event that should have never happened. A person full of life and visions had left us all.
Draven Rodriguez, 17, was a senior at Schenectady High School. He petitioned his school to let him have his yearbook picture taken together with his favorite cat, Mr. Bigglesworth. It went viral. The petition received thousands of signatures on the internet after it was refused by the school at first.
The school ultimately rejected the individual photo, but according to Schenectady High School Principal Diane Wilkinson, she believed in the student’s vision. She allowed a photo of herself and her rescue together with Rodriguez and his cat featured in her own year book page, reported by Today.
Rodriguez and the year book photographers were hopeful the attention from the photo would increase awareness for animal rescue and care.
The cause of suicide remained unclear according to the Schenectady Police Department. Police referred to a report in the Times Union where parents confirmed it happened at home last Thursday. “He made friends wherever he went,” Jonathan Stewart, Rodriguez’s father, told the newspaper. “He had friends all over the country — people he’d met at youth-leadership conferences, online, just around town.”
Regarding the famous yearbook photo, Stewart said, “He wasn’t trying to stir things up with it. He honestly just wanted a silly photo because he had a great sense of humor.”
Tributes from friends to Rodriguez were posted on his social media account last Saturday. They were all shocked at what happened. . “We have all lost a smile in the hallway, a great friend, and an incredible mind,” fellow student Erin Thiessen said. “Rest in peace, Draven Rodriguez.”