Los Altos High students say goodbye for Every 15 Minutes

Grim reaper greets Los Altos High students (Photo courtesy of CHP)

Grim reaper greets Los Altos High students (Photo courtesy of CHP)

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Saying goodbye to loved ones is hard, especially when they’re cut down in the prime of their lives.

Los Altos High students learned this the hard way, when they were asked to write goodbye letters to their parents as part of the Every 15 Minute event on Friday. A fake auto accident had claimed the lives of three students outside the bustling Hacienda Heights campus.

Justin Contreras broke down and sobbed as he tried to read his letter at the school assembly. The 18-year-old senior was comforted by other students who rose to hug him on the gym floor.

“If only I knew that once I left my house in the morning on March 12 that I wouldn’t return home. Maybe I would’ve hugged you longer mom and dad,” wrote Tori Sanchez in her heartfelt goodbye.

“Maybe I would’ve had told you how thankful I really was to both of you. Maybe I would’ve smiled more at both of you when you said good morning,” the 18-year-old continued. “Maybe I would’ve done a lot of different things.”

“I didn’t know that I was never going to see you both again. I’m sorry, because I made a dumb decision to get in a car with a drunk driver my life was taken away. I just turned 18 the previous day, I had my whole life ahead of me,” the senior said.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen. I was supposed to do so many other things in my life and within a blink of an eye all of my dreams and aspirations were taken away from me,” Sanchez wrote.

“I should’ve been more responsible. I should’ve listened to you both. I should not have taken life for granted,” the sad student said. “I’m sorry mom and dad that I have failed you, failed you in the way that you have now lost a daughter and have to bury me.”

The powerful prose moved her fellow students, as Sanchez warned the teens about how fragile life can be. It’s not something teens usually think about.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story GOODBYE