West High School grieves student's death
Still reeling after the death of one of their own, students and faculty at West High School came together for a moment of silence for Edwin Cardoso, a 14-year-old freshman who was killed after he was hit by a car while crossing the street on his way to school Wednesday morning.
A group of his closest friends sat silently after the end of classes Thursday. Their faces were somber with a residual amount of shock still left in their eyes. Some smiled as they remembered Edwin and who he was a good person who enjoyed being with his friends. As the classrooms began to empty and more students started streaming into the halls, this core group of friends soon found themselves the focal point of a growing circle. They embraced, they sobbed, they thought about Edwin's family.
Student council president Treyton Imamura stood up and spoke to the crowd of about 50 students and a handful of teachers and staff.
"It's really great that everybody came together," he said. "We're a big family here at West High. We take care of each other."
The gathering was an impromptu one, organized by grieving students and friends the day before and spread through word of mouth and social media. The number of people who showed up was a testament to the kind of person Edwin was, said school counselor Orin Johanson.
"This was a well-known, well-liked kid," Johanson said.
A day after his death, the atmosphere at the school was "somber," he added. "The reality is setting in."
The day before, Johanson and two other counselors met with those closest to Edwin. The number of people affected, including Edwin's girlfriend and a group of his closest friends, was enough to fill a classroom, Johanson said. They spent the day Wednesday talking, crying, screaming.
"We just let them talk. We just let them be," Johanson said.
After a moment of silence, some students left to converge at the site of the accident, where a pickup truck turning left from 900 West to go east on 600 North struck Edwin at 7:09 a.m.
Salt Lake City Police Detective Mike Hamideh said police are still investigating the collision. Prosecutors will decide after the investigation is done whether to file charges against the 19-year-old man driving the pickup.
On Wednesday night, hundreds found themselves drawn to that intersection, where people placed flowers and held a candlelight vigil. Many of the students returned Thursday afternoon. The plan after that was to make a trip to the home of Edwin's family. Counselors told the students on Thursday that the family wanted to visit with Edwin's friends. A group of students sent the family a banner that included written messages to Edwin. At least four more were hanging up at the school.
We'll miss you," one student wrote.
"I love you like a brother," read another message.
The Thursday afternoon meeting was short, but some of Edwin's friends stuck around after the crowd dispersed.
Alejandro Rebolledo and Christian Aceves, both 14, stood together at the school's entrance, next to the statue of the panther mascot. It had been a hard day, they said.
Rebolledo said he went to see Edwin's parents the day before. They didn't talk much.
"They were really sad. I was sad too," he said. "I couldn't talk at all."
Perhaps out of habit, Aceves spoke of his friend in the present tense, a good friend he had known since first grade who doesn't get mad very often.
"He's very nice," he said. "He would always find a way to make people laugh."
Edwin's funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at Larkin Mortuary.