Remembering Marquan Wallace


Marquan on the court.

Alexis Weiss, Reporter

Novato High School sophomore Marquan Wallace passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, May 2nd. Marquan was a friend to many in the Novato community and will be missed greatly.

A beloved student at Novato High, Marquan was a skilled and devoted basketball player. He played for the Hornets and for the County Bears. 

Anyone that knew him saw how contagious his smile was. He could walk into any room and it would instantly light up. His friends cherished him for his sense of humor, kindness, bright spirit, and easy-going nature. 

Sophomore Julie Martinez remembered her best friend.

“We did everything together. I remember riding scooters everywhere, putting empty water bottles on my back tire of my bike so it sounded like a motorcycle, hitting on every lifeguard at the pool, walking our dogs together, and buying chips, candy, and root beers every time we got our allowances. You were the greatest, most kindest, warm-hearted, energetic, and silliest person I’ve ever met. I will forever miss all those beautiful laughs, perfect smiles, forehead smacks, tight warm hugs, those nights where all we did was vent, you wiping my tears so they wouldn’t fall, you reminding me that I’m going places like the WNBA, constantly being called Megamind, Lord Farquaad, being reminded every day of how short I am, how much better you were at basketball than me, and how big my head was. I will cherish every single moment we had together. Your legacy will forever live on. I will honor you and forever make you proud. I love and miss you so much, Marq. Gone but never forgotten, you will forever be in my heart my beautiful boy,” Martinez said. 

Another friend, Frankie Petuya, shared some memories. 

“In the short 4 years I knew Marquan, I’ll always remember the memories, sleepovers, basketball pick-up games, going to Hamilton and playing on the weekends, all the nicknames he gave me, all our roast sessions, and just every time we hung out with friends we were always laughing and we always had all each other’s backs, no matter what,” he said. “One thing I’ll always remember is how I met Marquan; we would always play basketball at lunch at San Jose and I cut the line once and he got mad so we were pushing each other and a teacher broke us up and whatever, but during our next class he walks up to me and says ‘You know, if we were being serious we would’ve been throwing hands.’ And the rest is history. All our games brought us and our friends into a brotherhood that can’t be broken. Marquan, you’ll always be in my heart and I know you are watching over me on the field.” 

Marquan’s mom, Aneka Gordon, described how special her son was.

“Marquan was the sweetest soul from the day he was born. He was such a happy baby, always laughing and playing. Rarely cried. Always so loving and affectionate. As he got older, he remained to have a great attitude and kind heart. He made friends quickly and didn’t have one enemy. I will miss his laugh, his beautiful smile and the amazing heart that he had. Marquan was and still is my everything and I will love him always. I hope all of his friends will continue to honor him, and keep him forever in their hearts,” she said.

It can be so easy to get lost in this tragedy and find yourself grieving the loss of this incredible young man. Let yourself grieve. Let yourself be sad, mad, or whatever feels right. For many students, it may feel hard to focus on school or daily routines, and that is normal. It’s okay to give yourself the time you need. Lean on each other, support one another, and take care of yourself. 

And if you ever need help, resources are out there. You are not alone. 

Marquan will never be forgotten. Fly high. 

From the NUSD Behavioral Health Team:

Everyone moves at their own pace through the states of crisis and healing. Give yourself permission to grieve in your own way and in your own time.

-Let the tears flow. Tears are a very natural and necessary part of grief. Tears help you express feelings that you may not have words for. They are NOT a sign of weakness.

-If you are experiencing feelings of anger, then give yourself permission to verbalize those feelings with someone you trust. You can also release anger by running, skating, lifting weights, writing in a journal, drawing, painting, or calling a friend.

-Let people know what you need. It’s also important to remember that if someone does ask you about your loss at a time when you don’t feel like talking about it that it is okay to tell them you don’t feel like talking about it right now.

-Be good to yourself. Take time to get the rest you need. Balance that rest with regular periods of exercise and good diet; they are crucial to your physical and emotional well-being.

-Don’t compare your feelings of grief with how others are managing their grief. Others may appear fine, but privately they are hurting just like you.

-You have much to give. Even when we are in pain, we still have the ability to give to others. It may be hard to imagine, but giving to others will help you in your own healing process.

“See Something, Say Something”. 

If you need help for yourself or a friend, come to the counseling office.  The East Annex and Welcome Center (Room 1501) are also open. 

For help outside of school, please use the following resources: 

Crisis Text Line (24/7, English and Spanish): Text HOME to 741741

Marin Crisis Hotline (24/7): (415) 499-1100

The Trevor Project (24/7, LGBTQQIA+): Text START to 678678 or call (866) 488-7386

California Youth Crisis Line (24/7, translation available): (800) 843-5200