Students support deceased classmate’s family |

Students support deceased classmate’s family

If every student at South Tahoe Middle School donated a dollar to help the family of their fallen schoolmate, the youths could generate about $1,300 for the deceased youngster’s family.

Such was the goal initially set by classmates of Edgar Castaneda, the 13-year-old sixth grader who suffered a heart attack May 1 while running laps during physical education class and died on Monday.

The students exceeded that goal within two days and are now turning to the community to match their contribution.

Castaneda’s classmates on Thursday drafted letters to local churches asking parishioners to help Castaneda’s parents pay for the burial of their son in their native Guatemala.

“If the kids and everyone in the community just gave a dollar, it would help the family a lot,” said Margaret McKean, the school nurse who helped the students establish a trust fund for the family.

As of Thursday afternoon, school officials reported receiving more than $2,000 for the account.

The roughly 60 students in Castaneda’s core classes also planted a tree Thursday in honor of their deceased schoolmate.

“He didn’t deserve to die,” said Tony Garcia, one of Castaneda’s friends and classmates. “He was one of the nicest kids in the school.”

“We played basketball and talked a lot,” added Justin McManus, about his relationship with Castaneda. “It feels great to help them (Castaneda’s parents and two younger brothers), so they can have a funeral in Guatemala.”

Besides donations to the family and the memorial tree, the students dedicated Thursday afternoon’s track meet at the school to Castaneda.

Donations to the trust fund (account number 14-00-147812) can be made at any branch of El Dorado Savings or through South Tahoe Middle School.

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