Go deeper Andrew Solender From the citys eastern edge to the Texas line is barely more than two miles. Fact-based, independent journalism is needed now more than ever. New Mexicos response last year was the opposite. You cant republish our material wholesale, or automatically; you need to select stories to be republished individually. You cant state or imply that donations to your organization support ProPublicas work. Now Koopers death was making her reconsider again. All of the teachers returned. The Texas Education Agency was letting districts make the decision. Junior year is key for students, like Kooper, hoping to play football in college. United Realty, LLC Happy Hump Day!! Coach Stevens got the news from the school principal that afternoon. This would have entailed sending Kooper to live with Heathers brother. Thats what you think when youre 16: Nobody is dealing with what Im dealing with. Not to mention, he said, that the closures have simply given kids too many empty hours. The younger one would ask why he couldnt get McDonalds, which she preferred, on the way back, and hed explain that traffic made it easier for him to do them in this order. When the pandemic swept through the country last year, Texas was quick to reopen schools while New Mexico shut down schools and sports. (For example, yesterday can be changed to last week, and Portland, Ore. to Portland or here.), You cannot republish our photographs or illustrations without specific permission. And there are the astonishingly deluxe high school football stadiums. 866-495-5172. Theres too much hurt, Espinoza said as I headed out of her house after our conversation. His home and away jerseys, his school backpack and a school photograph were also displayed. He was a kid who had everything, and this is where were at, said Justin. This all started before the resumption of Major League Baseball and other professional sports, and it sometimes seemed as if our tournaments were the only serious competitive sports happening in the country, a sort of speakeasy baseball. There were other challenges, such as the time in August when a player on the girls volleyball team tested positive and the school made the decision to shut down the team for two weeks, just in case another player had been exposed. This was a problem, because he loved both of them. They were among the strictest in the country. But the primary concern from a public health standpoint has been the role that children and young adults might play in transmitting the disease to others. joe and the juice tunacado ingredients; pickleball courts brentwood; tornado damage in princeton, ky; marshall county inmate roster; Hobbs High School Hobbs, NM Football. Doctors are concerned about possible increases in childhood obesity no surprise with many kids housebound in stress-filled homes while addiction experts are warning of the long-term effects of endless hours of screen time when both schoolwork and downtime stimulation are delivered digitally. Kooper Davis could only watch from 30 miles away from New Mexico while the Texas teams played and the New Mexico teams did not. Definitive explanations were, of course, impossible to come by. your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. That is what teens are driven to do: to grow self-esteem and a strong sense of who they are. With school and so much else closed off to them, and daily life mostly limited to the home, the little bit of self-directedness they had before is gone. But Kooper hated virtual school. Koopers friend Zailor Lopez has noticed a change in her friends: I feel like the pandemic has kind of brought on a lot of anxiety for us kids.. She said her friends, parents, job and soccer practice have helped her cope. Even with fall sports canceled, the Hobbs school district, with almost 10,000 students, was still hoping to open the new school year for as much in-person instruction as possible. I know Ive still got another year, but time goes faster than you really think., He continued, I just believe we should be here at school and we should be here playing football. For high school junior Kooper Davis, whose family lives 10 minutes west of the border, this meant no school and no football. Speaking about the same . Students wore masks in the hallways and administrators did contact tracing for positive cases of coronavirus, but everything else went pretty much as usual, including sports. And Kooper was a great student of the quarterback position; he had the intangibles, his coaches said. On the way out of the athletic building, Kooper swung by to see the basketball coach, Eddy Martinez, to tell him he thought he might be able to play with that team, too, if the schedule that the state had floated the previous week actually came to pass: a truncated football season in February, followed by a truncated basketball season. They eagerly did so, several dozen of them bunched together, beaming for the camera. Davis, who lives in Hobbs, New Mexico, says she lost her son to suicide just weeks after. If we could have them all week, this is the best place for them to be.. Kooper Davis's passing at the age of 17 on Monday, December 07, 2020 has been publicly announced by Chapel Of Hope in Hobbs, NM . Still, the news of an 11-year-old taking his life after riding his bike to a field near his house had the power to shock in Hobbs. On Friday nights, high schools still played football, with fans in the stands. New Mexico as a whole had lost 3,145 people, two-hundredths of a percentage point higher than Texas in per capita terms. The initial response is not as difficult as something thats stressful, but over time, the anhedonia, the loss of pleasure, is going to drive you down a lot more., Even before the coronavirus arrived, teen mental health was a cause for growing concern. (To inquire about syndication or licensing opportunities, contact. More than just scholastic considerations were driving this. He wouldve had an adult standing next to him, a coach saying, Kooper, quit being a dummy. The only way he could make sense of it, Justin said, was that for about fifteen seconds of Koopers life, he let his guard down and the devil came in and convinced him of something that was wrong. His only solace was seeing the effect the loss had on Koopers classmates, who were, he said, turning their lives over to God, sending letters to the governor, and generally spreading word of his sons goodness far and wide.I believe God needed him now, he said. As for teachers, there was no option: Their job was in the classroom. Lt. He called you., When the service ended, people stayed on for a while to talk and hug each other. Rigby. For Hobbs and the rest of Lea County, population 70,000, that meant no more than five new cases per day in the whole county, Statewide in New Mexico, the restrictions resulted in zero high schools or middle schools reopening anywhere in the state.  These funds will go to future scholarship funds, football boosters and basketball boosters.

. This didnt keep many large urban districts in the state from starting the school year with remote learning. This has posed a conundrum from early in the pandemic: How much should children be prevented from doing outside the home, to keep them from contributing to community transmission of a highly contagious virus? Kooper started heading off to quarterback camps and private training in Atlanta, New Orleans and Tucson, among other cities hoping to better his odds of getting to play in college, an aspiration that became more feasible as he sprouted to 6 feet, 4 inches tall, ideal for throwing over linemen, if only he could get his agility and coordination to catch up with his height. After initially barring any schools from reopening in August, the state released gating criteria for districts that wanted to resume in-person instruction in the fall. He had won over his ninth-grade English teacher, Jennifer Espinoza, with his willingness to engage on the works they were reading: The Outsiders, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird., He was very opinionated about why a character did this, or whatever something meant, Espinoza said. Theyre going to be taking care of us one day, and this is how were treating them? He noted that one student at the October protest had carried a sign that read, Im able to vote in your next election.. But the video wouldnt load right, so several students went onto the field to give impromptu speeches before the 175 or so people who were gathered there. I dont know who it is, but you need to help them. She talked about Justins love for his son: Thats his boy. She had been writing and calling elected officials and state bureaucrats and finally, with the help of the local state senator, Gay Kernan, had gotten the state to provide some training for local teachers in recognizing youth mental health troubles. How come 10, 15 miles away, these kids can compete, can live a somewhat normal life?. Menu penelope loyalty quotes. So many kids are turning to the wrong things to fill a void. Florida senator's dopey bill feeds media narrative about GOP, The Part of CNN's Interview With Bill Maher That Trump Supporters Probably Won't Like, Adam Schiff launches into a projection-filled fit of nervousness after Tucker Carlson talks J6 tapes, WATCH: Schumer Threatens Fox, Says He Has 'Right' To Tell Them 'What to Do', New York Times Discovers a New Source of Racism, and This One Could Be the Most Ridiculous Yet, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information, A state-mandated lockdown of high schools and sports had a tragic impact on one student. And one weekend late afternoon in November, when it was below 30 degrees out, two dozen boys went to school to play touch football, the closest they had come to having a game. He told me that he had been running through his last interactions with Kooper, over and over, searching for a warning sign, to no avail. If you like our stories, mind sharing this with a friend? Its that years video that recruiters will look at, and that years grades that admissions officers will scrutinize. No doubt, if my son had been in school on Monday this wouldnt have happened, he said. When I entered her bungalow, Espinoza, a friendly woman in her 40s, said that I should feel welcome to take my mask off, because she had already been through a serious case of COVID-19, several weeks earlier. The buses had condolence messages painted on the windows: We are here for you, read the writing on the bus from Portales. This confounded Hobbs school officials, especially because they could see open schools across the border in Texas. But New Mexico schools and team sports didnt start up in the fall thanks to strict state regulations: After initially barring any schools from reopening in August, the state released gating criteria for districts that wanted to resume in-person instruction in the fall. Schools in New Mexico partially reopened in February, after being mostly closed for nearly a year. Allow us that opportunity., Kooper Davis had always thrived in school. Your email will not be used for any other purpose. (Perhaps the only indicator of youth distress that is falling reports of child abuse and neglect, which dropped about 40% early in the pandemic is nonetheless worrisome because experts suspect it is the reporting that is declining, not the frequency of the abuse.). All he knew was that Kooper had been upset about the closures. Its baffling to us to figure out why he didnt come to us., Suicide is ultimately an unfathomable act, but Justin said he was sure of one thing. But when he heard the name, Stevens was stunned. Some precautions were taken, such as umpires calling balls and strikes from behind the mound instead of behind the catcher at home plate. Pray for Hobbs, said the bus from Eunice. Justin, as I would soon learn, is a large and taciturn man, but he was eager to talk, and urged me to come to New Mexico to learn more about what Kooper and his friends had been through. Watch popular content from the following creators: cl(@chelsleigh2020), mckayla(@mckayla..pierce), angelroseeee12(@roseeeeeeee_0), Lily DeSciscio(@lilymdesciscio), taylorholdridge99(@egdirdlohrolyat22) . According to Fox News, the Christmas tree was important for the mother as it has the ornaments hung by her son. All Rights Reserved. The people of Hobbs had for months been barred from letting their kids go to school or letting them play football and soccer. Is Biden leaving wiggle room in his decision to run for re-election? Through the entirety of the movie his primary drive is to return to Earth to be with his daughter. No doubt, if my son had been in school on Monday this wouldnt have happened, he said. From Hobbs to the Texas towns of Seminole and Denver City is a half-hour drive next door, by the standards of the vast Southwestern plains. No products in the cart. ), Statewide in New Mexico, the restrictions resulted in zero high schools or middle schools reopening anywhere in the state. Ive blamed myself., She had done a lot of reading on youth suicide since Landons death, and had learned that rates were especially high in indigenous communities, like the Aboriginal community of Australia. Kooper was among the speakers, which surprised his friend Sam Kinney. An entire generation between the ages of 5 and 18 has been effectively removed from society at large, wrote Maryland pediatrician Lavanya Sithanandam in The Washington Post. Sam was lifting weights with another friend in the small workout room that his father had set up. A study in the March 2021 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, of people aged 11 to 21 visiting emergency rooms found significantly higher rates of suicidal ideation during the first half of 2020 (compared to 2019), as well as higher rates of suicide attempts, though the actual number of suicides remained flat. I arrived in Hobbs two days later, just in time for the memorial inside Christian Center Church. He had won over his ninth-grade English teacher, Jennifer Espinoza, with his willingness to engage on the. On Dec. 7, 2020, the sharp, successful kid with a bright future took his own life. The overall per-capita case numbers in Lea County were slightly higher than the three counties across the border, while the case numbers in Texas were slightly higher than in New Mexico. The school did not administer coronavirus tests on its own, but if a student or teacher tested positive locally, the school conducted contact tracing to determine if any other teacher or student had been exposed to them for 15 minutes or more, unmasked, within six feet. And the psychological stress that the pandemic has produced for so many Americans of all ages is unlike so many more acute crises that we might experience in life, said Nick Allen, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oregon. Theres no reason parents should put up with any further delays. We need to be back on the field. He missed football so much that, on some Friday evenings, he headed across the state line to Texas to watch a game. Thats the frustration, he said. The novel coronavirus, by contrast, has hit the elderly the hardest. Suicide is ultimately an unfathomable act, but Justin said he was sure of one thing. One thing that maybe our decision makers dont remember is that when youre in high school or youre a kid, thinking youre the only one dealing with something. Hawaii, one of the states least affected by the pandemic, put its threshold at 360 cases over a 14-day period. I fear for all the kids, he said. Heather came to the stage with Koopers sisters. You are free to republish it so long as you do the following: Heather Davis comforts Madasyn Culver after a youth church service in Hobbs, New Mexico in late February. Read the full story. They would come out with amazing answers. Kooper and Sam Kinney ribbed her about her tendency to lose her phone and took daily attendance for her. I asked if she thought school should have opened in the fall, and she hesitated. Travis Wade Collins passed away unexpectedly at his home on Sunday, February 26th 2023. And Im willing to keep my teammate and classmates in line, minding whatever rules, just so I can be back here doing the stuff I love.. We have official accounts for ProPublica on. Kooper Davis hated online school and he really hated that there was no football his junior year. Any website our stories appear on must include a prominent and effective way to contact you. How much distress was invisible to parents? Hobbs Municipal Schools had an enrollment of about 10,000 students last year, but are down around 10%, loosing around 1,200 students this year, according to enrollment numbers compiled by Hobbs Assistant Superintendent for Data and Assessment Rene Cantu. Well, were introducing them to a new society here, and theyre rejecting it.. The county had suffered 112 deaths attributed to COVID-19, which worked out to a per capita rate slightly lower than that in the three Texas counties abutting Lea. . You cant go to sporting events, you cant see your friends, you cant go to parties. Its okay to put our stories on pages with ads, but not ads specifically sold against our stories. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations in memory of Kooper to be made to Christian Center Church. Artesia loves you, said the bus from Artesia. Explore the latest videos from hashtags: #hobbsnm, #porterdavishomes . Kooper Davis came across the border once with a friend to see a game in Levelland, northeast of Denver City, and another time with his father, Justin, to see a game in Seminole. The team in Seminole, 20 miles south, needed to cancel some games as the result of player quarantines, but Denver City managed to get through the fall without any cancellations, though there were some weeks where the roster got thin. Davis planned to put together a highlight real of his games which hed use to attract attention. But the districts push to reopen was rebuffed by the state education department. Football went forward, too. He was one of the most driven people I have known. He described Koopers protective loyalty, how he once ran in from the outfield of a church softball game to confront someone who was having words with Heather. Lujan Grisham would announce that schools could reopen for all ages on Feb. 8, but at maximum 50% capacity, which meant only a couple of days per week, and under the condition that they would close if cases rose again. Its hard to be positive.. A key developmental task of adolescence is autonomy-building, said Jessica Schleider, an assistant psychology professor at Stony Brook University. Cooper's family hopes to use his story to . Finally, the nationwide surge in gun violence since the start of the pandemic has included, in many cities, a sharp rise in crimes involving juveniles, including many killed or arrested during what would normally be school time. Share a memory of Kooper Davis. Even if New Mexicos overall numbers were holding steady, to those in Hobbs, three youth suicides plus a half-dozen other attempts by students in a matter of months in a population of 39,000 felt like its own epidemic. She was heartened by the launch of the exercise class but knew the town needed to come up with more, just to let them know that we love them and theyre so wanted and theyre not alone. She started to cry. Justin, who works for a company that services oil-field equipment and runs a lawn care business on the side, noticed the reaction his tall, athletic son was getting in . I knew he was pretty brave, but didnt know he was that brave, Sam said later. Most notably, it gave local school districts leeway in deciding whether to open for in-person instruction in August, and in conservative West Texas, many districts seized the opportunity to do so, for all grades, all the way up through high school. For high school junior Kooper Davis that made all the difference in the world. The result of the abdication of federal leadership in 2020 was an atomization of decision-making that affected the lives and well-being of millions of people. Messages run for up to one year and you He could think of nothing, other than the fact that he had noticed that one of Koopers grades had slipped below his norm. Legacy invites you to offer condolences and . They held theirs at the high school football stadium, a hulking edifice that can seat 15,000. Later that day, he put up another Facebook post, his first since the one in October: With these tough times going around, I know there are many of those in need, and I want to give back to my community, he wrote. The day after that, Wednesday, a fleet of empty school buses arrived at the high school from other towns, one from as far as Clovis, 130 miles away. As it was sinking in with Kooper and his classmates that school would remain remote for the rest of the fall, they got word in early October of an additional setback on the sports front. Browse Hobbs local obituaries on Legacy.com. Koopers father, Justin, during an altar call at church in February. Kooper was vying against three other players for the starting quarterback spot. Few people were wearing face masks. Overall, though, the fall was going so relatively well that many students who had chosen the remote option at the outset decided to come back to school, to the point where only about half a dozen were still learning at home. He joked about Kooper letting one of his sisters sleep in one of his shirts, his willingness to dress up as a baby during the church skit for the little kids, and how Kooper was the only one of the young people he knew who would actually call him on the phone sometimes, just to talk. When Kooper was the only boy at Hobbs to make the Junior National Honors Society alongside 20 girls, Espinoza asked him if it felt weird. The CDC found that the proportion of visits to the emergency room by adolescents between ages 12 and 17 that were mental-health-related increased 31% during the span of March to October 2020, compared with the same months in 2019. The adults encouraged the players to speak about what they were feeling, not to hold things in. The state, led by Democratic Gov. joe and the juice tunacado ingredients; pickleball courts brentwood; tornado damage in princeton, ky; marshall county inmate roster; steve dunn katu salary. These funds will go to future scholarship funds, football boosters and basketball boosters. If it would prevent another Kooper, then definitely, yes, she said. The mother ensured the tree stayed the same way the way her son had decorated it and therefore, she wrapped it up with cellophane. Kooper was very involved in and loved being part of his church family as well as being a Christian. They were even considering sending Kooper and Heather to Atlanta to live near one of the coaches hed trained with. Making it especially tough, he said, was the nearby contrast. His parents encouraged him to aim for the Ivy League, but he knew its football was middling. Koopers father and stepmother, Justin and Heather Davis, left, and sister, Kynlee, 11. They were among the strictest in the country. I chatted with some of Koopers teammates, asking them how they were handling remote learning. The only thing that I was able to find was in his journal, was that he had wrote that he was going mad from staying at home all the time and that he just wanted to be able to go to school and play outside with his friends. I get the fear level, but we see models that show it can be done. When you put most of your things into achieving scholastic, and achieving athletic, and those things arent available to you, your whole life, every goal you wanted to achieve is being taken away from you, he said. On my final day in Hobbs, I made the short drive across the Texas border to Denver City. Kooper was born in Hobbs NM on August 9, 2003 and spent his childhood in Lovington before moving to Hobbs with his family, Father Justin Davis, Mother Heather Davis and his younger siblings, where he was an honors student, athlete and student leader. According to his toxicology report, Cooper died due to taking a synthetic pill laced with fentanyl. His teammates would be allowed to practice only in small pods, which left them mostly doing just weightlifting sessions and agility drills. He was a straight-A student and the quarterback for the Hobbs high school football team. After being in Denver City, things seemed emptier than ever at the Hobbs high school complex in normal times, the center of communal life in Hobbs. The schools in Denver City, population 5,000, had shut down amid the coronavirus lockdowns in the spring of 2020, but there wasnt really any question about whether the 1,700-student district would reopen schools in the fall. Hobbs wasnt even holding synchronous classes online for older high schoolers. If high school teams arent playing football, there is no football being played. The bureaucratic oversight stunned her. More resources had belatedly started pouring into the state: a $10 million federal grant for school-based mental health services, plus $500,000 in CARES Act funds. In the large band hall, the band director showed me the dots he had taped on the floor to keep the 70-odd musicians spaced 7.5 feet apart even as they marched, and the cloth covers that one students grandmother had made, decorated with the schools mustang logo, to go over the tubas, to keep them from emitting moisture. Everything looks the same on either side of the Texas-New Mexico border in the great oil patch of the Permian Basin. He called back five minutes later to say that yes, he had gotten the name right. And unlike in many other, more Democratic parts of the country, the citys school administrators had the support of many teachers when it came to reopening: A survey in late summer found more than 70% of teachers in favor of in-person instruction. Koopers teammates on the Hobbs High School football team. I reached Justin Davis on the phone that Saturday, after learning of Koopers death from a mother in northwestern New Mexico whose daughter had also struggled with the absence of school and sports. He is survived by his father and mother, Justin and Heather Davis, his biological mother Sarah, his sister Kynlee, sister Kharley, brother Kroy, and brother Kohen, brother Tayton and sister Emara, multiple grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, administrators, and coaches. Students wore masks in the hallways and administrators did contact tracing for positive cases of coronavirus, but everything else went pretty much as usual, including sports. Malena Moreno and her boyfriend, Pedro Gavin Garcia, were friends of Koopers from Lovington, New Mexico, where Kooper lived until he was 12. Participation in sports and a connection to school can have a profound protective effect, according to David Brent, a psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh. If you share republished stories on social media, wed appreciate being tagged in your posts. If I had read that before, I wouldnt have thought that he was planning on taking his own life because I think were all feeling a little crazy right now.. Funeral Home website by. This confounded Hobbs school officials, especially because they could see open schools across the border in Texas. can stop at any time. 877-845-6272. Justin and Heather Davis with Kooper, then a first-year student. He is going to continue to use him to impact those around him, and Gods glory will shine through.. One of the more heartbreaking conversations that our healthcare workers share is about these last words when children apologize to their parents and grandparents for bringing COVID into their homes for getting them sick, she told the Los Angeles Times. Like mosquitos carrying a tropical disease., In Los Angeles, county supervisor Hilda Solis, a former Obama labor secretary, urged young people to stay home, noting the risk of them infecting older members of their households. Despite the cold, two dozen kids, most in their early teens, had come out to the parking lot and were now doing various kickboxing exercises spaced apart and with masks on under the guidance of some martial arts instructors. mcg general admission seating, gymnastics accidents paralyzed,