Amy Pacheco and Francisco Campos, both freshman cadets in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, were known as a couple since their freshman year at Cesar Chavez High School.
Pacheco and fellow freshman cadet Miguel Hernandez, a graduate of Northbrook High School, died in a fiery crash early Sunday morning on Highway 290. Campos was injured in the crash, but is expected to recover.
On Monday, the students were mourned by their ROTC family, a group that also recognized them as the best and the brightest.
“You have to live up to the example that these young people tried to emulate. The lives that they were trying to do were worthy of emulation,” said Cornell McGhee, the director of the Junior ROTC program at the Houston Independent School District. McGhee worked closely with both Pacheco and Campos.
On Saturday, the three Aggie freshmen served as judges in the HISD Blue Bonnet Drill Competition in Houston.
“Amy’s was the first face I saw,” said McGhee of the weekend event. “Her face lit up into a big smile because she was so excited about coming back and being a judge at our drill meets so that she could share what she’d learned in the short time she’d been away at Texas A&M.”
“It’s shocking,” said Amanda Garcia, a student at Cesar Chavez High School. Both Pacheco and Campos graduated from Chavez last year. “And she was like close, she was with me last year, now she’s gone and she’s dead and it’s sad.”
“To hear this that she passed away devastates me,” said Karla Mejia, a friend and former Chavez classmate. “I was proud to have her as my friend because she was such a smart girl. She usually helped me when I had homework for that class and she would help me. She would look out for me.”
The Texas A&M Corps of Cadets plans to hold an “Echo Traps” tribute to the fallen cadets at 10:30 p.m. on Monday on campus in College Station.
Campos, the only survivor of the collision, is reportedly out of surgery and expected to be in the hospital at least two weeks.