Alton remembers deadly school bus crash

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ALTON, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Students and staff from Mission CISD gathered at several events commemorating the tragic school bus crash that happened on September 21, 1989.

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The crash occurred when a Dr. Pepper truck ran a stop sign at the intersection of Mile 5 and Bryan Road. It hit a school bus packed with junior high and high school students causing it to fall into a caliche pit filled with water.

The crash resulted in 21 student deaths and impacted everyone in the community.

“One of my experiences, I was holding back a parent who kept saying ‘oh that’s my son’ and I asked her to give them a chance to work on him,” said Iris Iglesias.

Iglesias was a coach at Mission High School when the crash happened and is now a board member for Mission CISD.

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“Having the school named for them was very important since a lot of the families were from the area,” she said.

Iglesias said having annual remembrance ceremonies is important in the community.

“Our horticulture class and landscape and design class have come out, spruced up the garden, made it look nice, and planted new flowers and plants. So, we are rededicating it to those children today,” said Alton Memorial Junior High School principal, Jessica Dominguez.

Dominguez said aside from the memorial garden, students also participated with artwork and reflection writing pieces to remember the lives lost that day.

The names of the victims were read during the ceremony.

Cecilia Villarreal-Rodriguez, a teacher at the junior high, said being part of the memorial ceremony is a daunting task because of its importance.

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“We just really want to make sure to impart the importance of remembering who these kids were. It was very important for us to make sure they understood what legacy they need to uphold,” she said.

Every year Mission CISD hosts several events commemorating the tragedy.

This year all campuses participated in ceremonies to “Remember the 21.”

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