“Never give up.” This is a phrase echoed within the walls of Pathways often. Our students here are all hard workers, and this statement can usually be heard coming from teachers or students during times of mental and physical exertion. It’s a reminder than you’re tougher than you think you are. It’s a reminder that you’re doing something worthwhile, and that there’s something on the other side of your exertion that’s worth it. It’s a statement of challenge and hope.

Joey Landeros was a man with a “Larger Than Life” personality, who was known to quote this saying regularly. Never Give Up. It usually came with a smile, a fist bump, or a high-five. In response to challenges, his other favorite response was, “it’s too easy.” Joey was loved by all for his fun-loving, always-encouraging personality.

Sadly, on January 11th, our dear friend Joey passed away. He is survived by numerous friends and family he considered dear. One friend, Slater, shared some of the reasons he loved Joey:

“I love that he’s a ‘rocker’ like me! I love his mustache! I love that he always makes me laugh! I love that he’s my bro! I love that he’s my friend! I just love him!”

One of our Pathways teachers, Ms. Chelsea, shared, “I remember meeting him in 2018 and thinking this student has so much heart and energy and he really cares for people. He had this ability to make you feel like you were the most important person in the room while still loving everyone else with that same level of attention and affection.”

Other teachers affectionately recalled fun memories with Joey. For example, he had a regular desire to find the squeaky chair in the classroom so he could bounce on it and say, “Squeaky chair!”  Additionally, he is remembered for his love and passion for WWE wrestling.

While we rejoice in Joey’s faith in Jesus and his eternal reward, we mourn for his family and for ourselves as we will miss the “larger than life” man who brought so much fun, joy, and inspiration to all those who knew him. In the meantime, we will take Joey’s words to heart. We won’t give up, and we will face every challenge with the mindset that “it’s too easy.”