He’ll be forever dancing in the Dreamtime, just as he was always dancing in life – that’s the belief of family and friends after the sudden death of a promising young man.
Isaiah Spearim is being remembered as a gifted dancer, up-and-coming boxer and musical talent; respectful, positive and an inspiration.
His parents, best friends, teachers and colleagues have this week shared with the Leader their thoughts on Isaiah, and his legacy of strength and leadership.
Isaiah lost his life in the early hours of Saturday morning in Sydney, just a few days after his 21st birthday.
Friends say he was walking home from a party along train tracks and was struck by a train; police said the circumstances were not being treated as suspicious.
Mr Kirk said his son had just gained a permanent job as a parking inspector with Parramatta City Council.
He was preparing to recommit to boxing, in which he’d won regional and state titles. But “dance was his first passion”.
Mr Kirk said he often shook his head at Isaiah’s inability to keep still; if he was grocery shopping, he’d be dancing; if he was in a queue, he’d be dancing.
“I’d say, ‘Mate, don’t do this or that’, but he lived his own dream. He’d do the opposite,” Mr Kirk said.
“I’d say, ‘There’s no money in dancing, you’ve gotta get a job, but he said: ‘I dance’.
“And he got himself a scholarship to [prestigious dance college] NAISDA.”
Best mate Jacob Stanton said Isaiah used dance as a way to invest in another passion: nurturing and sharing knowledge with younger Indigenous kids.
The pair had been running summer holiday programs for children and young teens, leading up to performances at the Tamworth Country Music Festival’s Aboriginal Cultural Showcase.
“The big thing for us was sharing culture and knowledge as much as possible … making sure the next generation coming up had that strong foundation,” Jacob said.
“He had a strong belief, for not just Aboriginals but all Australians, that this is the true history of Australia.”
Isaiah performed at the opening of the Netball World Cup, State Dance Festival, Schools Spectacular and community events.
He also danced with the Bangarra Youth Program; a spokesperson said Isaiah had been “an amazing young person achieving so much and inspiring so many; such a pleasure to have known”.
He attended Hillvue Public School and Peel High School.
PHS music teacher Nicole Hayman said: “Isaiah was a star.”
“He shared his unrelenting passion and pride for his culture, fostering the same pride in his peers ...
“Students like Isaiah stay with you forever. His softhearted, kind spirit, cheeky and compassionate manner towards all who met him saw Isaiah become a beloved member of the Peel and wider community.”
A City of Parramatta Council spokesperson said Isaiah’s loss had “left a huge hole and impact on his work colleagues and friends”.
“Isaiah was a valued employee and his friendly demeanour made it easy for his colleagues to instantly like him.”
Mum Kerry Spearim said her son was positive and compassionate, and didn’t like to see people in pain.
“If someone was down, he’d walk up and light them up,” she said.
Mr Kirk said Isaiah had also been into filmmaking, guitar, modelling, singing and songwriting.
“If there was one message he’d want us to have, I think it would be: Take one day at a time, live life to the fullest, reach for your dreams and don’t ever give up on them.”
Childhood friend Jermain Walford said he would remember Isaiah’s “smile, his laugh, his cheekiness”.
“He inspired me to be a better person,” he said.
“Through school he wrote his own song, Believe In Me.
“It says, ‘If you need something to believe in, believe in me’.
“And everyone did.”