Candlelight Vigil: A Reflection


Olivia Martin-Johnson

Students, faculty, and friends join in a candlelight vigil on the Sean Taylor Memorial Field at the Prep campus on March 7. As candles were lit, sophomore David Gonzalez sang a heartfelt rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” “Our school has come together and united in a such a beautiful way. The vigil was beautiful and provided a sense of closure,” said sophomore Kimberley Cruz.

Paola Villanueva Gonzalez, Contributing Writer

As I sit at home after a beautiful vigil ceremony, in loving memory of Javier Cañedo, I find myself with more questions than I had when I left my house. The waves of red, the lit candles, the moving words of peers, and the pictures of a classmate we lost, made it all real. We all have questions, and even though we may never find the answers to some of them, we may live on knowing that Javier Cañedo, whether an acquaintance, student, or close friend, left a mark in all of our hearts.

Personally, I have never seen a community come together the way our school has. On behalf of the school, students received a beautiful ceremony in which to grieve, and space to cope with the crushing reality on the shoulders, backs, and hugs of one another.  A wall titled, “Take What You Need” was filled with post its: Hugs, a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to, etc. What the school provided us was space and time where we could do all of these things. As high school students, most of us have not dealt with grief, and the response to a loved young man was, to say the least, overwhelming.

While Javi may no longer be physically with us, one thing rests guaranteed in my mind and heart: he will live forever through us. And as life regains its normal course and routines take form again, we all live with the two promises we made as a student body: We will remember Javi, and we will lean on each other for help.

As one of many, my heart goes out to the Cañedo family through this difficult time. Javi will forever live in our hearts, and the lessons we learned not only from his loss, but from his life and the joy and love his presence spread, is something all of us can only ever hope to achieve. To the Gulliver community: Even though we blew out the candles at the vigil, make sure to remember the flame that burnt, and try to honor it as we all move on from this painful tragedy.