Former Skyline student dies in canoe accident

Former Skyline student Luis Rubalcaba was lost in a boat accident on San Francisco bay on Feb. 17.

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Former Skyline student Luis Rubalcaba was lost in a boat accident on San Francisco bay on Feb. 17.

A Skyline College alumnus was found dead in San Mateo after a boating accident on Feb. 17.

Luis Rubalcaba, a 22-year-old student, was studying in San Francisco State University’s criminal justice department. He was due to graduate this year.

Interim Dean of Students, Mary Ann Begley, issued a statement to the SFSU community after the incident.

“The SF State community was saddened to hear of the sudden loss of Luis Rubalcaba,” Begley said. “Luis was a part of the criminal justice studies program and was regarded by the faculty in that program as a perfect gentlemen and an excellent student, with an upbeat and cheerful personality.”

According to Begley, Rubalcaba was planning on working with youth in need of support and in community outreach following his graduation.

Along with touching the lives of his community at SFSU, Rubalcaba left an imprint on the academic body at Skyline, where he was a student before transferring to SFSU.

Professor of English, Karen Wong, was a teacher and mentor to Rubalcaba, and was able to watch him grow as a student in three of her classes.

According to Wong, Rubalcaba had a passion for learning that he brought to the classroom. She recalled that he would get to her class early and always offer to help her with things when she entered.

“He made an impression beyond even what was happening in my classroom,” Wong said.

She said that she admired Rubalcaba. He was a first generation college student and dreamed of being a police officer because he wanted to help people.

Wong said that he was “continuously searching for ways to improve himself.”

One improvement he sought was an internship with the Sheriff’s Office.

She spoke about his effort, energy, self-discipline and self-awareness as a person.

One of the more recent times she had spoken with him, Rubalcaba had asked Wong for a letter of recommendation for a social work program he was planning to apply for. She said that this was another way he was trying to contribute to the betterment of his community.

“I hope that he’ll leave a legacy behind,” Wong said.

According to his professor and mentor, Kenneth Walsh, he was considering pursuing law.

As with Wong, Walsh recognized the serious focus that Rubalcaba had for school and his goals in life.

“He was doing everything right,” Walsh said, about Rubalcaba’s approach to his academics.

Aside from studious, Walsh spoke about Rubalcaba’s characteristics as a human being. He saw him as a gentlemen, courageous, and a good character.

“He was a young man you want to marry your daughter,” Walsh said.

Walsh also mentioned the connection that Rubalcaba had to community. He spoke about his plans to help at-risk youth. He said that Rubalcaba’s more recent career path decisions were geared towards pre-law.

“He had what it took,” Walsh said.

Walsh was shocked when he got the news, having just spoken to him days before. He said that Rubalcaba was one of those people who would put himself at risk to help those around him.

Although Rubalcaba’s services have already passed, there is a Go Fund Me account in place to raise donation funds for his family.