Sunday, April 21, 2024

SPHS hosts candlelight vigil to honor fire victims


The San Pedro High School (SPHS) hosted a candlelight vigil on Tuesday, June 12th in honour of one of their students, Allan Nuñez, who died in a tragic fire earlier that day. The fire gutted Allan’s family residence in the Escalante Sub-division and sadly also took the lives of his mother Clara Bacab Nuñez, his little sister 6-year-old Mia Nuñez, and cousin, 16-year-old Shirley Bacab. They remained trapped inside the burning structure while the father David Nuñez, and older brother, 16-year-old Samir Nuñez, managed to escape the inferno with severe injuries. At the vigil at the high school auditorium, fellow students, teachers, staff and islanders remembered the Nuñez and Bacab family with songs and emotional speeches.

Students at SPHS were scheduled to commence their third term exams this week, but following the tragedy, the administration re-scheduled them for Wednesday, May 13th. In the meantime, students received counselling with grief counsellors provided by the Ministry of Education, along with a pastor.
At the vigil Allan’s peers and teachers remembered him as a fun and free-spirited individual. They all shared their best shared moments, and his teachers spoke of his excellence in academics and his humble behaviour. A choir sang beautiful songs, while Principal Emil Vasquez and Pastor Clive Welsh delivered remarks of encouragement for everyone mourning this devastating loss.

Principal Vasquez stated that on Friday, June 15th all students are expected to participate in the fundraising event via a radiothon on Reef Radio and dollar drive to assist the fire victims. The entire island community is encouraged to participate as well, in order to help the families that have lost everything, including those living on the lower flat of the house. That family was able to escape the fire with their two young children, but lost all their belongings.

At the end of the end of the event, students and friends gathered around an altar with pictures of the victims. They placed their candles on the altar and prayed for the families affected.

Persons interested in making direct donations can make payables to the Belize Red Cross Society-San Pedro at Belize Bank account number 670140161010120001. Donations can also be delivered to the studios of Reef Radio on Friday.

The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and UNICEF will be providing psychosocial support to the affected families, and the same support will also be given to students from the San Pedro Roman Catholic School where Mia was attending, and the SPHS for their tragic loss of members of their school community as an initial response. After necessary assessments have taken place, the SPTC will conduct an immediate clean -up of the affected area.

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