At 5:30 am on Monday, October 27, Sonora High School senior Monique Zarazua was hit by a car in Huntington Beach at the corner of Beach Boulevard and Yorktown Avenue. She passed away the next day.
Zarazua was an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate as well as a member of the track and field team at her school. According to the Huntington Beach Independent, she was also a member of the Environmental Awareness Club. She tutored fellow students often, and was known for attending concerts on the weekends.
The 17-year-old was walking to the bus stop to commute to Sonora when the accident occurred.
At Sonora, there were memorials made in her memory including murals and memorials around campus, in her classes, and in front of the school. Students and staff members wore purple to school, as purple was her favorite color.
“I think both negatively and positively my life has changed since Monique’s passing,” said Sharon Kim, a Sonora senior who used to ride the bus with Zarazua.
“I tend to view death and accidents as more of a reality now,” Kim explained, “which is the negative aspect of it because it has caused me to become more paranoid and worried. However, it has also led me to realize that life is indeed short, and that I have the capability to live it to the fullest and have fun. I also cherish my friends and family more now.”
Many students called her their “sunshine.” Thus, sunflowers were left at her memorials and drawings of suns were hung up around campus.
On the following Wednesday, Sonora students joined to conduct a candlelight vigil in her memory.
Suzy Suh, a senior, said, “At the vigil, everyone shared stories of how Monique was like the sun. She was always smiling and always had crazy stories to tell everyone. There was never a dull moment with her because she always filled the silence with her bubbly, energetic voice.”
Suh continued, “There’s an obvious emptiness…, but now I’m trying to do what Monique would’ve wanted me to [do] and find joy in the fact that she lives on through her organ transplants keeping others alive as she kept those around her lively.”
As for her organ donations, it is known that her heart has been donated.
Her funeral, held on Sunday, November 9 at Rose Hills Memorial Park, was intended not to be melancholy but instead to be a celebration of her life. Attendees were told to not wear black; instead, they wore Zarazua’s preferred attire of band tee shirts and distressed jeans.