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Pierrefonds Community High School students honour friend through scholarship

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Pierrefonds Community Highschool students honour friend through scholarship
WATCH: A year and a half after his death, a Pierrefonds Community High school student is being honoured by his friends. His peers want his fighting spirit and joyful friendships to live on in a meaningful and lasting way. Gloria Henriquez explains – Nov 11, 2022

At the Pierrefonds Community High School futsal tournament, everyone, even the referees, is rooting for the same team.

They’re coming together to raise funds for the new Tristano Ricci scholarship, set up by Ricci’s best friends Chiara Michakis and Julian Rosa as a part of their final year project.

“He was a big part of this school. A lot of friends, a lot of families here and we all miss him,” Rosa said.

Ricci was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

He bravely fought the disease until he died in May 2021.

Read more: Made in the West Island: Pierrefonds Community High School students sell handmade canoe

His peers remember him as a leader and a great athlete with a positive influence over everyone he met.

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“He was always talking, he was the class clown,” said Austyn Pagalunan, a Grade 11 student. “He was happy.”

Pagalunan recalls transferring schools and being “the new kid,” until Ricci stepped in and became his first friend in his new school.

“I’m a lucky person to have met Tristano. You know, if I hadn’t met him I think I’d be very different than who I am.”

The scholarship’s goal is to give Ricci the means to keep touching people’s lives, even if he’s gone.

“It’s emotional,” said Lori Tassi, Ricci’s mom. “I didn’t know how I was going to react but I’m happy. This is what it’s all about, this is who he was.”

Ricci’s brother, Nicolas Ricci, agrees. “I feel like he’s here right now, I feel like he’s having a blast,” he said.

Tristano Ricci and one of his best friends, Chiara Michakis. Michakis, along with Julian Rosa, have set up a scholarship in Ricci’s name. Chiara Michakis

The tournament is raising funds with inscription fees and through the sale of raffle tickets for prizes that local businesses donated.

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Michakis hopes to raise enough money to grant the $500 scholarship for several years.

“To remember him and keep his legacy alive,” Michakis said.

The scholarship will be given during commencement to a student “who embodies” Ricci’s leadership and human qualities.

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