A kind soul never forgotten: Remembering Pedro Sanchez

By Anahi Mosquera, Managing Editor

Heartbreak and disbelief were some of the many emotions that the Lane community felt after the tragic passing of a fellow student, Pedro Sanchez.

Pedro, along with his 23-year-old brother Abelardo Sanchez, passed away in a house fire on Jan. 30. The cause of the fire still remains unknown, as police have not found any evidence that could potentially have caused the attic fire, according to Adelina Morales, a close cousin of Pedro. Detectives are still investigating the incident.

Pedro was a hardworking sophomore who valued his education at Lane, according to Mrs. Saylor, Pedro’s counselor. He would wake up everyday at 5:30 a.m. and commute all the way from the Back of the Yards neighborhood, Morales said.

“He traveled a great distance to get here and getting a good education was important to him and to his family,” Saylor said. “He and his family made sacrifices for him to be here at Lane.”

Saylor got to know Pedro both academically and personally, as he met with Saylor several times during first semester, Saylor said. He was eager to plan next year’s classes, expressing an interest in music and in finding new endeavors to experience.

“He was very forward-thinking,” Saylor said. “He was thinking about his future and trying to figure out what his next steps were going to be.”

Since the age of five, Pedro had hearing impairment, but that didn’t impact his determination. He was never ashamed to wear his hearing aid, Morales said.

“He didn’t let that stop him, he was able to get into a school like Lane and it didn’t impact his ability or his intelligence,” Saylor said.

Pedro has always been a great student and leader as he was valedictorian of his elementary school, Morales said.

Pedro enjoyed keeping himself busy; he helped take care of his younger siblings, was involved in church and had a black belt in taekwondo.

“He would never really stop, you know?” Morales said. “And it was never a bad thing, he was always doing something good.”

Pedro was always kind and helpful. He cared so much about his family, friends and community, Morales said.

Morales had a special bond with Pedro. Being his older cousin, he would confide in her often. One thing Morales will always remember is his smile — it was radiant, Morales said.

“Everything you told him or whatever you asked him, he would always just smile first. There was always a smile,” Morales said.

Whether it was sitting with a student who was alone at lunch or staying late to clean at a church benefit, Pedro left a legacy filled with kindness and compassion for others. Mrs. Saylor recounted time in which a student expressed Pedro’s impact on her life after his death. When this specific student felt lonely and had no one to sit with at lunch, Pedro sat and ate with her.

Karisma Nava, Div. 173, was one of Pedro’s best friends. He was a major part of her everyday life. Pedro was a chambelan in her Quinceanera and the two spent a great deal of quality time together at school.

“He would walk me to class and hold my geometry book because I would always complain that it was so heavy,” Nava said. “He would wait outside my geometry class and immediately grab my book because he understood, he put it in the locker.”

The little things he did made a big impact, Nava said. He was protective of his loved ones and made their well-being a priority.

“It made me sad turning that corner to my geometry classroom and just not seeing him there waiting for me,” Nava said.

The Lane community asked for donations for Pedro’s family and collected items such as clothing, shoes, non-perishable food, toiletries, seasonal necessities, toys, pots, pans and furniture, according to a General Student News email. Lane also distributed white ribbons for students to wear in honor of Pedro.

The family also raised a total of $34,608 via GoFundMe for both Pedro and Abelardo funeral expenses.

The family of Pedro emphasized the gratefulness they have for all the support they have received in their time of grief.

“We are so thankful for all the support we’ve received from the Lane community,”  Morales said. “We are overwhelmed with all of the love and support from everybody.”

Throughout his life, Pedro firmly stood by the importance of being grateful for all he had. It was a mindset he lived by, Nava said. It was one of the many lessons he taught her that she would carry for the rest of her life.

“He was always grateful for everything we did for him,” said Nava. “And we were so grateful for what he’s done for us.”