‘Doing it for Michael’


Michael Agana was bright and handsome; well-liked and passionate about his music, his friends say.

Almost a year after Agana, then a freshman with dreams of becoming an engineer, died when his car crashed through the balustrade on Bayshore Boulevard, his friends and family will gather for Michael’s March to celebrate the person he was.

On Sunday at 8 a.m. his friends, relatives and up to a few hundred people are expected to gather at the MLK Plaza where a three-mile march through campus will celebrate the young man remembered for his shy smile and love for music with a live performer, DJ and memories of the life he lived.

Music was part of Michael’s life from an early age, his mother, Jennifer Agana an applications developer at USF, said. When he was five, he played the piano.

When he was in middle school, he was in band, where he met Bijan Barrera, an organizer of the march who later went to high school and pledged into the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at USF with Michael.

In high school, he was on the drum line and in marching band.

“In high school, the drum line kids were always the handsome guys,” Barrera said. “Everyone thought he was handsome.”

In college, he played guitar for friends and neighbors in Beta Hall.

The loss was difficult for all who knew him. According to multiple news outlets, Michael Agana had spent the day with friends at Busch Gardens. Autopsy reports later found traces of LSD and marijuana in his system, but friends and family said they did not know him to be one who had ever done drugs.

His mother said his family is still healing.

“It’s been hard for the family,” she said. “I’ve lost a parent, I’ve lost sisters, but losing a kid is another thing. But we’re dealing with it. We’re trying to make him proud of us every day.”

At first, coping with the loss was rough, Barrera said.

But with time the group of friends he and Michael used to hang out with has become closer, he said.

“We’re good,” Barrera said. “We’re doing it for Michael. That’s the way we live now. I’ve never been sky diving, but I’ll do it for him — even if he would’ve never done it.”

Registration for the march can be completed at michaelsmarch.org, $49 for an individual and $45 for members of a team. All proceeds from the march will be donated to create a scholarship in Michael’s name for a student to attend USF. Jennifer Agana said she hopes they will be able to continue the scholarship for at least three years.

“It’s kind of like a continuation of his life, if it’s helping others grow in their lives,” she said.