Students and community members on Thursday honored a Chisholm Trail High School student who died unexpectedly two weeks ago.
Angel Hernandez, a 16-year-old sophomore at Chisholm Trail High School, had been running in a 5K district cross country meet on October 13 when he suddenly collapsed while crossing the finish line, according to The Cinco Peso Press. Hernandez crossed the finish line in first place.
As Hernandez approached the finish line, coaches and teammates observed that he began to stumble. They immediately rushed to his aid and assisted him in getting to medical officials and then to the hospital, where he later died.
Alejandro Bailey, one of Hernandez’s teammates, said, “As the moment was happening all any of us could think about is that hopefully he could pull through this and that we needed him.”
“We were like brothers,” said Bailey, per The Cinco Peso Press. “We just stayed with each other, hugged it out, and told each other it was going to be OK. A lot of stuff was going through my head like, ‘What am I going to do without him?'”
During the school day on October 13, Chisholm Trail High School principal Winston McCowan arranged for teachers to read a statement to the student body that Hernandez had passed away.
A viewing for Hernandez was held on October 19, with a funeral following a day later at Heritage Funeral Homes Davis-Morris Chapel in Brownwood.
Hernandez’s family members, as well as faculty and students, gathered at a memorial at Chisholm Trail High School’s Hardy Performing Arts Center in his honor on October 26.
Those close to Hernandez are honoring his life by spreading kindness with the phrase “Live Like Angel,” as reported by WFAA.
“He always came with a great attitude and a smile. He was just a wonderful person to be around,” said Joseph Gifford, head cross country coach for the high school, according to WFAA. “I’m gonna miss him, and he will be forever in my heart.”
Ashley Wood, Hernandez’s karate coach, had thought of him as her son.
“If you knew him, he loved you,” said Wood, per WFAA. “We’re a family. Angel was a large part of that glue; he was there for every kid.”
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet determined the teen’s cause of death.