Landmark Holds Vigil to Honor Deceased Student

Community members gather to honor the life of the late Diego Stolz.

A vigil was held at Landmark Middle School on September 27, 2019 to honor and remember the life of Diego Rivera, the 13 year-old boy who was assaulted at Landmark Middle School resulting in serious injuries and later death. This was a peaceful and heartwarming event where staff and students spoke about important details regarding the improvements the school is making, and tear-jerking sentiments were offered by students, parents, and staff.

The ceremony began with an opening song performed by Valley View High School’s choir followed by a performance of Moreno Valley High Schools choir. The opening was about the measures the Moreno Valley Unified School District is taking to help with the tragic situation and prevent it from ever happening again. 

Jesús Holguín, the Board president, began by saying,¨Diego is teaching us a huge lesson, Diego is teaching us that we need to be together, that we need to communicate with each other, that we need to look at what we do and how we do things not only for one student but for all the students that we serve every single day in our school district.¨ 

One of the improvements that was done was a new sheriff school resource officer specifically assigned to Landmark Middle School. She feels very strongly about helping Landmark move forward because she is a member of the Moreno Valley community and has a child who was enrolled in Landmark Middle School. 

Diego’s former teacher from his 6th grade year read a sentimental essay written by Diego about what he thought a hero was. His parents wanted Diego’s former teacher to read this essay because ¨this is everything Diego is.¨ Diego wrote, ¨being a hero means you put everyone before yourself, put people’s needs in front of your own, not being selfish, help everybody that needs it mentally and physically, people that don’t just stand up for themselves, but they stand up for everyone and fight for equality amongst humans.¨

The ceremony ended with a releasing of 13 balloons in honor of the 13-year-old; a life lost too soon. 

Five students from Landmark Middle School, also friends of Diego Rivera, planned speeches in honor of their lost friend and to remind us of the type of person Diego was. 

“Together as a community we will come together in a peaceful and respectful manner, we all have our opinions and they all need to be heard,¨ Eind´ah Phillips,  said. ¨There is no excuse as to why he lost his life, everything is in our face and most of us are ignoring it, if we can’t change our community, we need to change our school and I challenge everybody out there to try and be a role model.¨