Education

Hoover community remembers, pays tribute to Merced seventh-grader killed by train

Hoover Middle School community remembers seventh grade victim of train collision

Hoover Middle School holds a private memorial service on May 22, 2019, for Vicente Mancera, a 13-year-old seventh grader tragically killed in a train collision south of the school on May 2, 2019.
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Hoover Middle School holds a private memorial service on May 22, 2019, for Vicente Mancera, a 13-year-old seventh grader tragically killed in a train collision south of the school on May 2, 2019.

Vicente Mancera’s classmates and staff at Hoover Middle School remembered their joyful 13-year-old friend’s “infectious smile” and love of wrestling Wednesday afternoon.

The school held a private memorial service on campus for the 13-year-old boy killed by a train on May 2 while he was walking on the tracks south of the school, according to a news release. Vicente’s family also attended the ceremony.

“We are all devastated from losing Vicente,” Principal Julie Rivard told the school community at the service. “I am so proud of all the students and staff at Hoover and how you have dealt with this tragedy. We came together, and we were a family that supported each other the day after and continue to support each other now.”

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Hoover Middle School in Merced County has rescheduled a carnival and color run that was canceled due to the train-related death of seventh grade student, Vicente “Feo” Mancera, pictured in this school yearbook photo, to Wednesday, May 22, 2019. A majority of proceeds will help pay for funeral, according to the Merced City School District. Courtesy Merced City School District

Vicente was reportedly wearing headphones as he walked on the railroad tracks at about 3:45 p.m. May 2 near East 23rd Street and G Street when he was struck by a train, police said.

Vicente’s death shook the Hoover community. The next day’s parent-teacher club carnival and color run at the school was canceled.

Vicente, a wrestler at the school, had potential and leadership qualities exceeding his experience, coach Mike Hermosillo said, according to the release.

“Even though he was just a seventh-grader, I could tell he was special,” Hermosillo said. “He always knew the right things to ask.”

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Courtesy of Merced City School District

Students and staff shared memories of Vicente at Tuesday’s memorial. The Hoover Huskies band played and students released dove-shaped biodegradable balloons with personalized notes, the release states. Rivard also announced a plaque dedicated to Vicente’s memory will be installed at the base of a tree in the outdoor amphitheater in the school grounds.

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Courtesy of Merced City School District

The carnival and color run event canceled after Vicente’s death was rescheduled to Wednesday evening after the private service, with a majority of the proceeds expected to go to Vicente’s funeral costs and his family, school officials have said.

A GoFundMe page created days after Vicente’s tragic death to help pay for his funeral costs has raised almost $4,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.

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Courtesy of Merced City School District

School officials have been continuously reminding students and parents about the dangers of walking on or near the train tracks south of the school campus, according to the release.

Students are being encouraged to use safe routes through the G Street underpass west of the school and the Glen Avenue tunnel. School staff have been assigned to be at the tunnel to remind students to avoid walking across the tracks.

The school district safety committee also plans to discuss additional railroad safety measures with other agencies, according to the release.

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