Parkdale freshman Joshua Friesen remembered as ‘kind,’ ‘eager to learn’

The Parkdale and Cheverly communities alike are mourning the loss of freshman Joshua Friesen after his passing in March. (photo courtesy of

The Parkdale and Cheverly communities alike are mourning the loss of freshman Joshua Friesen after his passing in March. (photo courtesy of

On March 21, Parkdale freshman Joshua Friesen, passed away in the arms of his parents. As Friesen’s obituary stated, and many people will attest, “Joshua was shy in public, sacractic in private, and loving in all ways, trying to be the best person for everyone around him.” 

Friesen was in the International Baccalaureate program at Parkdale after attending and excelling in Dora Kennedy French Immersion from 2nd through 8th grade.  He had aspirations of becoming a marine biologist as he loved penguins, and a favorite memory of his was his penguin encounter at the Maryland Zoo. 

Through the IB program and through his school carpool, Friesen got to know a supportive group of people, one being freshman Sierra Cullum.

“I had the pleasure of getting to know Joshua through school, and through our carpool to school in the morning. He lived right up the street from me and I got to ride to school with him every day,” Cullum explained. “Although I did not get to know him as much as I wish I could have, I do know that Joshua was such a caring person and always made everyone around him feel better. He always explained classwork to me when I didn’t understand it and will be dearly missed by myself, classmates, friends, our neighborhood community and especially, family.”

In addition to being a member of the IB program, outside of school, Friesen was also a member of Cub Scouts Pack 257 and then Boy Scout Troop 257. He loved backpacking, camping, firebuilding, and everything related to the outdoors. His Boy Scout troop organized a candlelight vigil for him a few days after he passed. His troop leaders and others shared fond and humorous stories about him that evening.

Like his troop leaders, Friesen’s teachers, like biology teacher Mrs. Michele Siebert, will remember him for his kindness and intrigue.

“Joshua sat in class and was quiet, kind, calm, smart and spoke his mind at the most appropriate times,” said Mrs. Siebert. “All knowing yet still eager to learn from his curiosity that inspired his genius within. This is how I will always remember him.”

Friesen’s funeral was held at Hyattsville Mennonite Church on April 7. Many of his family, friends, and members of his community were in attendance. The church was so full that they had to open an overflow room. Freshman Sara Porcari, a classmate of Joshua’s, was one of the attendees of the service. 

“Joshua was one of my closest friends and I even did carpool with him,” said Porcari. “We will always miss him dearly.”

The Friesen family requested that instead of sending flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the penguin conservation at the Maryland Zoo. You can learn more about the conservation efforts or donate in his memory here: