On a night of heavy rain, hundreds packed into Pilgrim Baptist Church to say goodbye to a young woman who by the accounts of fellow students, teachers, and the community at large was a shining light.
Red Bank Regional High School senior and borough resident Riyadh’Na Farrow, known to her friends as “Ri-Ri,” was pronounced dead early Sept. 10 after police responded to a 911 call of an unresponsive female at her home in Montgomery Terrace. No cause of death has been determined. The 18 year old had just started her senior year of high school.
In Farrow’s death, however, the community has come together, not only to remember her life, but also to help each other cope and to provide care and support for her loved ones as long as it’s necessary.
The scene of her funeral, witnessed by RBR Superintendent Jim Stefankiewicz and recounted at the district’s board meeting Wednesday night, was a testament to Farrow’s personality and spirit. Students recalled memories of their good friend; teachers remembered a bright student; the community mourned a young woman who was always happy and having a good time.
Following Farrow’s death, the community has made an effort to help support her family. According to Stefankiewicz, RBR students, teachers, and administrators alike helped raise money through donations and bake sales to defray the cost of Farrow’s funeral expenses.
The school’s teachers have also come together to provide comfort and support in the form of prepared meals. According to school officials, teachers have scheduled meals to be delivered to the family for the next six weeks. Should the need for support extend beyond that time, the community is more than willing to provide.
"It’s just been an outpouring of support from all communities,” Stefankiewicz said following a moment of silence for Farrow. “I think this is the epitome of what being a part of the Buccaneer community is all about.”
Board member Emily Doherty also lauded the schools teachers for their support.
“This all came from their hearts and their pockets and I think we should thank them for it,” she said.
According to Farrow’s obituary, the senior was an honor student who was preparing to attend college at the University of South Florida after graduation. She was enrolled in college prep classes and worked part time at Super Foodtown.
“She loved to sing and dance, among other things, to have a good time,” her obituary read. “Her contagious smile would brighten a rainy day, as we all know.”