CANYON LAKE - Friends and family are mourning the loss of 15-year-old Fabian Celis. The Canyon Lake High School student drowned on Wednesday after jumping off a cliff into Canyon Lake.
Counselors were on hand Thursday at the high school offering support and guidance to grieving students, and there were many.
Even those who only met Fabian once knew he was special.
“He was my best friend,” Fabian’s father said. “I have so many good memories of our fun adventures and working projects together.”
His father was also quick to point out how charismatic and friendly his son was.
“He had a wit about him, lighting up a room when he walked in,” he said. ““He never had an unkind word to say about anyone.”
His father says that, in the family’s home, he’s surrounded by memories of his son.
“He was very mechanically smart, with creative ideas for fixing things,” he said. “I see my son all around due to the fact that he helped me create many home improvements and projects around the house. He turned my house into a home.”
"Automatically, if he walks in a room, it's 10 times better. If you were with him, you felt safe. That's the kind of guy he was. He was a good friend," said Isaac De Luna, a friend of Fabian.
His friends are in disbelief at the loss of the soon-to-be sophomore. They remember Celis's free spirit and zest for life.
"If you needed something, he'd give you the shirt off his back," De Luna noted. "That's what kind of guy he was. He wasn't afraid to speak his mind. If something wasn't right, he'd try to fix it, whether it be a relationship, or friendships, or if the desk wasn't moved the same way, he'd move it back."
De Luna met Celis in sixth grade. He said that during their first encounter, he heard Celis before he saw him.
"He screams a lot in the halls. He just makes a noise," De Luna said. "I was like, 'Hey!' Then he was like, 'Hey, I'm Fabian!' And I was like, 'Hey, I'm Isaac!' And that's how we became friends."
"We had a substitute teacher in biology and she gave me a paper and it had a zero on it," De Luna recalled. "I was like, 'What?!' and [Fabian] said, 'Hey, I copied off of him! How did I get a 100?'"
At De Luna's birthday party last year at the Canyon Lake dam, he said that Celis showed up before he did and was the last to leave.
Friends say that Celis's positive energy was contagious. He knew how to have a great time, and knew how to deal with more serious situations.
"Me and my girlfriend were fighting and, in a way, he saved our relationship," De Luna said. "I said I owed him for that, and he said I didn't. That happened about a month ago, at 12 o'clock at night, too."
Friend, Dillon Ford, described Celis as adventurous. He lived life on the edge. The group of friends would always hang out at the nearby creek or Canyon Lake dam.
"Not too long ago, like last weekend, we were down at the creek not too far from here," Ford said. "There's a super big tree and I remember him climbing super high up it and hanging from a branch."
At every home football game, Celis was there to cheer on his buddies.
"He always loved to cheer people up and cheer people on," said Nicolas Rivera, a friend of Fabian. "At 7-on-7, he came one week and you could hear him cheering non-stop."
"He's always hyped. I'd be walking in the hallway with my girlfriend, and he'd say something like, 'Yeah Jake!'" Jacob Pacheco described.
"If someone is playing music, he'd just scream and start dancing," Ford said.
Celis was also an active member of the Canyon Lake High School's JROTC.
"We realize he's in a better place and he's watching over us, just spreading his good spirit to us," Rivera said.
KENS 5 has learned that Celis is the youngest of five siblings. He has one sister, Clarissa, and three brothers, Ted, Christian and Sebastian.
Celis planned to go to Disney World with his family in two weeks.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Celis's family.
Friday, June 23 at 7:00 p.m., friends and family will hold a balloon release for Celis at the Canyon Lake dam.
Other friends of Celis shared memories via text:
Cat said, "Fabian was in JROTC with me. He was a sweetheart and was always worrying about others around him. He goofed around a lot but he was a hard worker. He knew how to put a smile on anyone's face. He was so young and didn't deserve to leave so soon. I couldn't believe what happened when my friend told me it was him, I was in such shock that he was gone. He's now up in heaven with God watching over us! We will miss him every day. RIP."
Deborah Lockhart said, "I did not know Fabian, personally. Have you ever met someone for a brief moment and it felt like they blew life into you??? Fabian came into my coffee shop [at Caffe Cinema] one day. His smile, genuine. Before placing his order, he introduced himself, ‘I'm Fabian,’ he said. ‘What 15-year-old does this?’ I thought. I said, ‘Fabian, I really like your name.’ Fabian said, ‘Thank you, ma'am.’ He proceeded to ask me how my day was going. ‘What 15 year old does this???’ I thought. I recall thinking, ‘Gosh I really like this boy's parents and I don't even know them.’ What a pleasant, friendly, full of life, caring individual Fabian was. In just a short moment that day, I knew him... It felt like he blew life in me. like I'd known him for years, you know, that moment where it seems like they're a messenger? His soul was vibrant... My heart breaks for his friends and family. They had him longer than that single moment I had, but he left that day leaving me thankful, grateful, and a little more alive simply with conversation. Fabian was full of life. It was obvious the moment I met him. Heaven has a very bright light in it now."
Christina Keating said, "I was Fabian's theatre teacher last year. Fabian had a wonderful adventurous spirit. He was always smiling and, in return, made others smile. He truly did make me smile or laugh every day. He was in a large class where a couple students weren't taking it seriously and he took it upon himself to encourage them to partner with them and to help them. He did this for them but he also did this for me because he was intuitive and knew it bothered me these students weren't trying their best. He had so much potential due to his intelligence and personality. He was a friend to all. He will truly be missed and I'll never forget his smile."
Taylor Kremer said, "I was a good friend of Fabian's. He was a great person and he always knew when I was feeling down. A lot of people are crying over the loss today but I know that he wouldn't want us to cry. He would want us to celebrate that he is now in a better place and is now walking with God. Fabian doesn't have one enemy because he is just so kind and considerate. Fabian will be deeply missed but loved and never forgotten."
Barbie said, "I'm a close friend of Fabian. He was the sweetest guy and was that one person that I could count on to put I smile on my face. Fabian and I have been close since grade school. He was friends with everyone and he never excluded anyone. He had nothing but love and kindness in his heart. So many people love and care for him. I know if he saw us crying, he would stop us and ask if we were okay. I'm completely in shock from what happened [Wednesday]. My heart hurts knowing that I won't be able to walk around school with him anymore, but I know he's in a better place."
Jessica Bush said, "I was an inclusion teacher in his math class and coached him in high jump his eighth-grade year and my first year at Mountain Valley Middle School. He was one of those students that always had a smile on his face, which was hard to come by in math. He was always helpful to other students and seemed to be friends with everyone. He wasn't always on his best behavior, but he was 100 percent always respectful. Teachers/coaches aren't supposed to have favorites, but I thoroughly enjoyed Fabian and knew he could accomplish anything he set his mind to. Even as a freshman, when I would see him at track meets, he'd yell ‘Coach Bush’ across the field and then tell me all about what was going on in school. This news has deeply saddened me, not only for me, but also for his many friends and his family that will miss his funny and lighthearted nature. I know he is telling jokes with the angels now."
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