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Sea of aqua: Tristyn Bailey remembered at Patriot Oaks homecoming game

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Members of the St. Johns County community and classmates of Tristyn Bailey gathered Wednesday evening to remember the 13-year-old student of Patriot Oaks Academy during her school’s homecoming game.

Bailey was killed on Mother’s Day in what Sheriff Rob Hardwick has called a “cold-blooded murder.” A 14-year-old who deputies said attended the same school as Bailey was arrested and is behind bars.

During the homecoming game Wednesday night at Julington Creek Plantation Park, Bailey’s cheer squad and the Patriot Oaks football team all wore jerseys and uniforms that were aqua.

Patriot Oaks Academy homecoming.

“She loved aqua. Everything she loved was aqua,” said Reese Kukwa, a cheerleader.

Friends say Bailey loved being on the sidelines, cheering at the games. The night was emotional for many, and they all want to ensure her memory shines bright.

The cheer squad’s special uniforms displayed Bailey’s name on the back. They wore bows in their hair stamped “TBstrong.”

Patriots Oaks Academy homecoming

They even incorporated Bailey into their routines.

“Tristyn Bailey strong!” they chanted and clapped.

Everywhere you looked there were signs of Bailey.

Additionally, a special gift was presented to the Bailey family. Her parents and siblings were surprised with a jersey.

The 13-year-old’s memory -- sewn in the uniforms and the hearts of her loved ones.

The support for the family of Bailey has been immense. A celebration of life was held at Celebration Church following her death, and other vigils and memorials were also held in parts of St. Johns County in the weeks after.

If you find yourself driving around Durbin Crossing or the Aberdeen neighborhood in St. Johns County, chances are you’ll still see a teal bow that’s been placed in Bailey’s memory.


About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.