PHOTO GALLERY — Bench honors fallen but never forgotten Bop Hope School students

Published 12:40 am Saturday, December 4, 2021

Two families grieving for their lost loved ones came together Friday along with students and staff at Bob Hope High School for the unveiling of a bench with plaques in honor of two former students who died.

Emotions were raw as Alex Sawyer spoke of his older brother Jesse who died at the age of 16 on April 25, 2011.

Jesse was a sophomore at the school and had been enrolled for eight months when he was struck by an alleged drunk drive while skateboarding in Groves.

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Alex Sawyer told the crowd to treat each other as if they were family.

“See each other as brothers and sisters because in the end, that’s what everybody is, they’re family,” Sawyer said, adding to treat each day as if it were your last. “Because you never know when it will be your last.”

Nanette Sawyer, Jesse and Alex’s mother, stood in the foyer of the school looking at photos of graduation classes through the years. Jesse would have graduated in 2013. Alex graduated in 2015.

Sonia Barragan, mother of Adrian Castellanos, called the bench and plaque heartwarming.

Castellanos was killed when his vehicle struck a tree on Memorial Boulevard on Aug. 13. He was a recent graduate of Bob Hope High School and was just starting college and a new job.

Abygail Anaya, Castellanos’ cousin, stood next to Barragan and leaned toward her during the ceremony.

Barragan’s hope is for the bench to serve students and staff and be a place where people can meditate, sit and talk or have lunch, “especially Abygail,” Barragan said of the teen that also attends the school.

Family, friends and classmates of Sawyer and Castellanos were on hand.

The small ceremony was held just outside of the school near the front doors.