A Tribute to Bryan Palacios-Perez


Wylee Lopez, Staff Writer

On Saturday January 23, 2021, tragedy struck Fort Atkinson High School when news broke that a freshman student had passed away. That student was Bryan Palacios-Perez, and he will always be remembered.

He was like a brother to me, like my other half, he impacted me positively just by being there for me,” says one of Bryan’s closest friends, freshman, Jaime Zuniga Cortes as he reflects back on Bryan’s life sharing some of his favorite memories of the two of them. Zuniga Cortes recounts riding their skateboards late at night and shares how Bryan was always there for him no matter what. “I knew I could always turn to him,” he states.

It was early Saturday morning in the month of January when news broke there had been a fire on Milo Street in Fort Atkinson, and that two children had died, one 14, a freshman in High School and the other a 4 year old. Not long after, the two kids’ names were revealed as Bryan Palacios-Perez and his nephew Ethan. News sources, friends, and family claimed that Bryan went back for his nephew, but by the time his father brought  a ladder to help them out of the second floor of their house, a gulf of flames shot up and Bryan jumped back frightened. That being the last time that his father would see him. 

Those who knew Bryan knew he was a kind and gentle soul who always cared for others and had big dreams for his future. This tragedy struck his family, closest friends, and classmates extremely hard, many struggling to believe that the tragedy was real at first.

“I thought it had been a joke at first,” comments, Nevena Noh, a freshman at Fort Atkinson High School,  as she shared her disbelief at Bryan’s death. The two were also extremely close. She said a favorite memory she had of him was when they would watch the sunsets on his roof together. “He was a really good friend and was my greatest emotional support. He really loved to watch sunsets.”

No one wanted to believe that what happened was real. Bryan and Ethan were taken from this world too soon, and nobody will ever forget the memory of Bryan and the kindness he brought to this world. Zuniga Cortes also shared, “When my mom saw that there was a fire on his street I called him to make sure he was okay and he didn’t pick up so we drove down to his house and when we found out it was his house. I was just in shock and I just couldn’t believe it, it didn’t feel real.” 

Like both Nevena and Jaime, most of the people who knew him, did not want to believe it. Friends of his posted on social media informing others of what happened, along with sweet messages and condolences to the family. When people read what happened, like Nevena, they felt like it was a really bad joke or just an excruciatingly terrible dream, but unfortunately it wasn’t.

“He cared so much for his family, and he would have done anything for them.” said Jaime. Bryan really did love his family with all of his heart. Bryan Palacios-Perez died a hero and with goodness in his heart. This is his tribute, as he will always be remembered.

Wylee Lopez

The Signal Staff Writer