CORAL SPRINGS —The Broward Sheriff's Office is investigating the suicide of a teenager on Northwest 73rd Avenue in Tamarac after the agency received an early morning call Wednesday.
Peter Blake McCullers, 15, was a sophomore at J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs, and some of his 3,026 schoolmates are wearing white in tribute to the loss of their friend.
"We're holding up as best we can," Taravella's principal Shawn Cerra said Thursday. "He was a special young man and very popular among the student body."
McCullers was on the competitive cheerleading team and participated in its Academy of Finance and DECA marketing club at the school, at 10600 Riverside Drive.
"Blake's death is a surprise to me personally and to my staff and the student body," Cerra said. "None of us had any indication that he was going through anything or having a difficult time. He was not a drug user."
Cerra called the teen "a leader. I respected him. He was just one of those kids who always went out of his way to say 'Hi' and ask about my day. He was the same with his teachers, too."
McCullers was described as "academically sound" by the principal, who said the teen was part of Taravella's gifted program, enrolled in some honors courses and seemed destined for college.
"I am at a loss about what happened," Cerra said.
Cheerleaders from around the country are tweeting photos of themselves with the messages, "#Love more, judge less" and "#RIP Blake" written on their wrists, with some adding the hash tag, "#Cheerleaders against bullying."
"The kids on social networks are saying he was bullied, but I can't say that is what happened here," said Cerra, describing McCullers as friendly and confident and an unlikely target for bullies.
"He didn't identify himself as gay," Cerra said. "I never spoke with him about his sexual identity."
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