Tonight on the Colorado State University campus, a candlelight vigil will be held to remember Ariana Cordova and a fellow eleven-year-old from the Fort Collins area.
The pair took their lives within a week of each other — and while the loved ones of the other child, a boy, have asked the media not to print his name, Cordova's family has come forward in the hope of preventing bullying, which they believe contributed to Ariana's final act.
According to her online obituary — which provides details of her funeral service, scheduled for 11 a.m. today — Ariana passed away at Children's Hospital in Aurora on November 16.
She is described as a fifth-generation Colorado native who was attending Lincoln Middle School in Fort Collins. "We must validate each other's feelings during this tragedy and help one another to know that we're not alone in this world," the notice adds. "Aria has gone to live with God. Our 'little love' will truly be missed."
The obituary also encourages mourners to "send your support to the Bullying Prevention and Education Program of your choice" — a theme reinforced by a GoFundMe page that appears under the headline "AJC #stopthebullying" and this image, taken from the first paragraph of a Fort Collins Coloradoan report.
The introduction to the page, started by the parents of an Ariana classmate, points out that "there is something that happened this week in our lovely City of Fort Collins and it's definitely not happy, but it's staying with us and we need to say please, please, please talk to your kids and have an open relationship with them where they can come to you about anything. You never know what can happen.
"We found out that she was being bullied at school," the introduction continues.
This scenario is confirmed by Isabella Cordova, Ariana's big sister, who represents the family in an interview with Fox31.
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“She started being bullied when she was in second grade,” Isabella tells the station. “It wasn’t until she came home with a broken arm that we had to figure out what happened.”
Ariana had previously shown signs of depression as a result of the bullying; she underwent counseling and was allowed to take some classes online. But Isabella says Ariana wasn't showing any signs that she was suicidal in the days before her passing.
“There are people on her bus that said she was counting down days, but she never let any of us know," she says. "She acted like everything was fine."
At this point, there's no indication that Ariana's death was directly related to the suicide of the other eleven-year-old, a student at Blevins Middle School who died on November 22 — although such tragedies can come in clusters. Late last year, we mourned the passing of Ty Folsom, one of three Frederick High School students to commit suicide over a two-week span.
The aforementioned candlelight vigil is slated to get underway at 6:30 p.m. in Fort Collins outside Colorado State University’s B.W. Pickett Equine Center.
In the meantime, we offer our sincere condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of these two young people, who left us far too soon.
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Look below to see the Fox31 piece.