Thursday, May 10, 2001

Memorial service
cherishes youths’
lives, loves, lesson

Mililani high school
students killed in a car
crash are recalled

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Several Mililani High School students buried their heads in their hands and wiped away tears as two Fellowship Club members sang "no more tears, no more fear, no more pain" in memory of three classmates.

More than 100 students and faculty members attended an after-school memorial service in the courtyard of Mililani High School yesterday for seniors Andrew Delos Reyes, Anthony Alexander and Jeremy Tolentino, who died in a car accident on Kaukonahua Road.

The victims' family members also attended the service and shared their loss with their children's friends and teachers.

Principal Robert Ginlack said he hoped the service brought closure to the students. "It caused a lot of kids to reflect."

Before 11:24 p.m. April 12, 18-year-old Brian Dade lost control of his grandmother's station wagon, Waialua-bound on Kaukonahua Road with his three friends as passengers. The car struck a guardrail and was then broadsided by a sedan traveling Honolulu-bound. Police said speed and alcohol may have been factors in the accident.

During the opening prayer yesterday, student Eric Sohl said: "Lord, I ask you to please watch over my boys and help them to watch over us, too. Make sure we don't make the same mistakes and we learn from what happened, Lord."

Student J.P. Routon spoke on behalf of his close friend Andrew Delos Reyes, who was an Oahu Interscholastic Association wrestling champion in his weight division.

"Cherish every moment you spend with each other. Cherish every second, minute and hour in the day. You never know when it could be your last," Routon said.

Yvette Villegas described her boyfriend Tolentino as someone who enjoyed soccer, model cars and playing the ukulele.

"I will never forget you. I would always cherish your memory," said Villegas, who dated Tolentino for a year.

Sixteen-year-old Kawai Preza said she cherished the short time she spent with Alexander, whom she dated for 4 1/2 months.

He was stubborn, but deep down he was caring, she said. "I know he's in a better place than we are."

Hunting was his passion, added Preza, looking at a collage of pictures of Alexander.

On April 13, Preza got a call from her friend Syvannah at 12:15 a.m. and was told her boyfriend was involved in a serious accident. "At first I didn't believe it," she said. Preza immediately drove to the Queen's Medical Center with her mother to find Alexander, but he was not there.

"I had a sharp pain in my stomach," Preza said. "Right then, I knew."

Counselor Terrance Kelley said friends of the victims have become fairly stable after the victims' families nurtured them soon after the accident. As teenagers, they have become aware that they are not so invincible, said Kelley.

"They have more respect for the frailty of life," he said.

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