Remembering Andrea Robinson

Andrea Robinson on senior prom night. Photo courtesy CH-UH City School District.

Andrea "Rea" Robinson lived a short life, but she made a difference in that time.

Rea, a 2009 graduate of Cleveland Heights High School and a freshman at Ohio University, died Feb. 17 after being hospitalized for bacterial meningitis. 

While at Heights High, Rea was on the tennis and lacrosse teams, captain of the swim team, a member of the Heights Singers and a student in the Renaissance School. She was known for her friendly spirit, and was liked by many.

The day after her death, students at Heights High signed a banner in her memory, and members of the Heights Singers sang "For Good," from the musical “Wicked,” as a dedication.

"Rea was so well-liked and the news of her loss has been very difficult. Our school social workers and the entire Heights High team have come together like a family to address the needs of our students and staff who knew her. As long as there is a need, the school social workers will be available," said Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Coordinator of Communications Angee Shaker.

"She was one of those souls who enjoyed life and that's what makes this so sad,” said Renaissance Principal James Reed.

Shaker described Rea as a "cheerful, active and hard-working student during her time at Heights High." 

The day after Rea's death, a member of the Heights High swim team started a Facebook group. In less than 48 hours, it had over 1,000 members. 

"Rea just had a great personality and was a lot of fun to be around. She brought a lot of energy and passion to her team," said Terry Saylor, Rea's former lacrosse coach. "She was bright and had great goals. She had a great future ahead of her, and that's what makes something like this so sad. Rea provided a lot of leadership to the team." 

The night after the team got the news, they spent their practice talking about Rea and the impact she had on the team. Her uniform number, 9, will be retired from the Cleveland Heights lacrosse team—the first time they have retired a number.

"She was the best roommate anyone could ask for," said Rea's OU roommate, Nikki Lamendola. "We got along great, we never got into a fight. We had so many great times together and my only sadness is that it was cut way too short."

At Rea’s wake on Feb. 22, Heights High graduates came from out of town to pay their respects. OU bused students to Cleveland. Faculty and current students from Heights High also attended.

The funeral was crowded the next day at St. Ann Church, where current members and alumni of the Heights High choir sang several songs in tribute. Her sisters, Bailee and Stephanie, read the poem "i carry your heart with me" by e.e.cummings and said that "Rea played many roles in life: a daughter, a sister, a friend, a girlfriend and Auntie Ra Ra. But now, she takes on a new role: a guardian angel."

Rea Robinson’s time on earth was short, but it was fully lived. She had a very contagious smile and laugh. She looked for the best in everyone, and she knew how to make anyone feel good. For those who knew Andrea Robinson, there were many wonderful memories, and those won't be forgotten anytime soon.

Simone Quartell is a 2009 graduate of Cleveland Heights High School and is studying journalism at Kent State University.  

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Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 10:28 AM, 02.20.2010