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Honoring the life of Christian Herrera

February 8, 2024

By: Katherine Trowbridge with Jessica Infante-Castro

Christian (l) with his Parents and siblings.

Christian Herrera, son of Nadia Karina Chavarria and Gilberto Herrera, was a junior in the Running Start program at Connell High School. He was working to get ahead on his big dreams. Christian was diligent to get enrolled in the program as a sophomore and working towards a cybersecurity degree.

On Tuesday, January 30, Herrera’s life was honored by family and friends. A life taken too soon by an unexpected tragedy, as the family gathered in Mexico over Christmas break.

His mother shared, “Chris' biggest goal for the future was to travel to Japan. He was in love with the culture and he dreamed of not only visiting, but someday moving there. When it came to academics, his dream job was being a videogame designer, but he had recently made the choice to focus on getting a degree in cybersecurity.”

She added, “What I want the community to know was what a sweet and caring boy he was. He had a soft spot for animals, especially dogs and cats. He talked about getting a few cats and dogs once he moved out, and a pet snake. He loved his family and was an amazing older brother, especially to his little sister, Victoria. He was a huge help and very responsible. We even joked about what an amazing dad he would be someday. He also cared deeply about his friends.”

His mother stated that “I would love to honor his memory by showing kindness towards animals, maybe volunteering at animal shelters or donating items to them.

Christian at the beach in Mexico.

A special memory I would like to share: A few days before his passing we spent the day at one of his favorite places, the beach, with some of his favorite people. That day was one of the happiest I have ever seen him…I can still hear him laughing about how scared his cousin, Litzy and I were of the waves. That day nobody was planning on getting wet, but we all ended up in the ocean having the best time ever and it was all because he refused to stay out of the water, so we all followed him in there to ‘keep him safe’.”

His mom continued, “Chris had recently obtained his license too and he had unofficially become my personal Uber and he didn’t mind at all. I will miss and cherish those drives around the streets of Connell with my baby. He also had a quirky, dark sense of humor that got him in trouble one too many times. He was an amazing son who was very loved and will be eternally missed.”

His cousin, Litzy Espino shared, “Christian was a great person with such a kind and beautiful heart. Those who didn’t know Christian very well, probably saw a shy, quiet, and serious kid. Christian was the opposite; he was extremely silly, he always had the best jokes and always made you laugh. I will never forget all his jokes that he said. Christian was the funniest person I know. Christian was a helpful person and was smart too.”

Christian and Litzy

Litzy and Christian shared similar goals and were both in the Running Start program together. Their goal was to obtain their associate of arts when they each graduated from CHS. She added, “Christian had a big goal to travel to Japan one day. Christian is a very special person to me, and he will always be special to me. I will always hold a special place in my heart for him. Christian is a brother to me, we grew up like siblings. He will always be my little brother. I love him so much and I miss him everyday.”

A special memory shared by Esteban Morales.

Esteban Morales Diaz was a good friend of Christian’s. Esteban recalled a favorite memory sharing, “My favorite memory was when we all huddled together to take a picture for one of our friends' moms for a memorable memory, which, on that day we ran from a dog barking, thinking the dog went loose.”

His fourth grade teacher, Tricia Clary expressed, “Christian Herrera was an amazing human. He loved everyone. He was always happy. He always had a smile on his face.”

Tricia Clary with a fourth grade Christian.

Clary recalled, “When he was at Mesa, I could count on having him say, “Good morning Mrs.

Clary” with a huge smile on his face. When I received the Crystal Apple award, Christian insisted that his mom take him. He brought me the biggest bouquet of flowers. He was the only kid in a room full of stuffy adults and he just beamed.

When Christian moved to Connell, he always sent his mom to tell me HI. He even came back and saw me a few times, always so happy.”

Clary added, “Christian was like a special light in the world. He will be so greatly missed.”

“Christian Herrera was a fine young man. I knew Christian when he started in my STAT class as a freshman,” Samuel Poppe shared, “Christian was the ‘quiet kid’ in class, he was very respectful, kind and had an infectious smile.”

Poppe recalled how Christian noted that he wanted to be a videogame designer and live in Tokyo, Japan when he grew up. He loved soccer, tortas and wanted to go to college.

Mr. Poppe with his STAT crew. Christian is piggyback (center).

Poppe said, “He started fulfilling his dreams this year by attending Running Start and taking college classes. Unfortunately, this meant that I did not see Christian as much. My heart goes out to Christian’s family. Christian will be missed. This is a reminder to me of the importance of just getting to know your students, the learning will happen, but life is just so fragile.”

His former school counselor, Jessica Infante-Castro shared, “during the funeral, I sat directly behind many of North Franklin’s Running Start students. It was so sacred to get to see them each honor Christian with a white candle. St. Vincent’s nave glowed with Christian’s legacy.

As father Fr. Luta shared, his legacy lives on in them. By reaching their goals and dreams, they honor Christian.

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