Students, faculty mourn untimely death of senior; vigil honors life of Ceniceros

Friend: ‘I lost someone I would have had with  me my entire life’

High school students, teachers and staff attended a vigil in honor of Zella Ceniceros, a senior at Grand County High School, who died suddenly last week. Photo by Carter Pape
Zella Ceniceros

Friends of Zella Ceniceros honored her life and legacy on Tuesday, Nov. 5, during a candlelight vigil held at Grand County High School, where she had been a senior, one week after she died suddenly.

A photo collection of Ceniceros sat on display alongside notes from classmates, family members, friends and others. The evening included a performance by the high school band, an homage from Principal Steve Hren and a tribute from Carrie Strecker, Ceniceros’s debate coach and English teacher.

Strecker read a poem written by popular slam poet Rudy Francisco, a poem extolled by Ceniceros before her death as a message of resilience. The poem Strecker recited reads in part, “remember that every year, two million people die of dehydration, so it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty, there’s water in the cup. Drink it and stop complaining.”

Emma Millis, a friend of Ceniceros’s and fellow senior at the high school, also spoke to the audience at the vigil. The night before, she made a similar tribute during an event with the high school debate team, to which Ceniceros belonged.

Millis praised Ceniceros’s character and recounted moments that they shared together, including on trips for the debaate team. Millis said in closing that one of the things that hurt her the most about Ceniceros’s untimely death was the permanent loss with which she was left. “I lost someone I would have had with me my entire life,” Millis said.

Vigil attendees wrote messages to the Ceniceros family. Photo by Carter Pape