Middle school in Chowchilla mourning loss of student

CHOWCHILLA, California

The flags at Wilson Middle School in Chowchilla are lowered to half-staff in honor of the eighth grader who lifted everyone's spirits.

Wilson Middle School Principal Jennifer Euker said, "Karina was a child who was full of love, but it was a love she wanted to share with everybody."

Now this campus is showing its love for Karina Chavez. Students are signing a huge card for her family and dedicating both their yearbook and a special edition of their school newspaper in her memory.

Euker added, "It's kind of like we're all family now because of her."

The white board in Angel Barragan's room is also covered in heartfelt messages to Karina. He says the 13-year-old hugged him every morning, and on Friday they shared a special moment, bonding over their favorite Mexican music.

Barragan explained, "I sang it and I danced and ultimately I did it just to see her smile, and she smiled and ran out and aid she waved and said have a good weekend Mr. Barragan. I said you have a good weekend too, and that's my last memory I danced for her, I actually danced for her just to see her smile."

Karina and her 20-year-old brother, Omar Chavez Garcia, died early Sunday morning when the truck he was driving hit the center divider and flipped over on Highway 99 near Avenue 18 1/2. Principal Euker says the siblings were going to help their parents sell food.

Euker said, "She would get up at three in the morning to make those tortillas and make that food and then share it with all of us, and she was so proud of that."

Many people in the community are now trying to help the hard working family through fundraisers, but administrators say Karina's grieving parents have just one request.

"The family just wants everyone to know that all they need is an outpouring of love for their daughter," said Euker. "That's all they want."

The school has had counselors on campus this week helping everyone cope with the loss.

Administrators are planning to have buses available to take students to the funeral services next week in Madera.

The exact details for those services are still being finalized, and the highway patrol is still investigating the crash.

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