A tragedy occurred on Nov. 11, 2006, that shocked northern New Mexico.
A drunken driver speeding the wrong way down Interstate 25 slammed into a minivan, killing five members of a Las Vegas family. The crash killed Paul Gonzales; his wife, Renee Collins-Gonzales; and their daughters Jacqueline Gonzales, Selena Gonzales, and Alisha Garcia. Arissa Garcia, who has since graduated from West Las Vegas High School, was the sole survivor.
Recently, members of the Robertson High School Cardinals girls soccer team made sure that horrible event and the family that was lost had not been forgotten.
Seniors Maria Carrillo, Leah Lucero, Brittney Quintana, Margaret Duran, Randall Schweigert and Adrian Roybal — along with their younger teammates — held a soccer camp in memory of Jacqueline and Selena Gonzales, who were themselves avid players.
“Our camp went really well and was a lot of fun,” said Maria Carrillo. “My sister (Kim Cruz Carrillo) coached both Jacqueline and Selena and so I got to know them through her. As a senior, I’d love to come back 15 years and see that our effort to remember the family became an annual event.”
Parents along the sideline seemed to think the camp was also a success.
“This soccer camp was very organized and I appreciate that,” said one mother, who had brought her two sons, plus two nephews. “The coaches kept the kids actively involved learning different drills and enjoying themselves.”
“These girls did an awesome job,” agreed Audra Sandoval and Ron Padilla, parents of 4-year-old Ron Padilla Jr. “This was our son’s first soccer camp and he loved it. He’s been showing everyone what his coaches taught him and told him.”
More than just a camp, “this is a way to remind those who lost loved ones that they’re being remembered too,” said Julie Lucero, parent of a 4-year old camper.
Parents Matt and Liz Probst summed it up in this way: “It’s great to see local teens so involved and concerned. They’ve formed friendships with our kids and have shown by example that one way to care about your community is get involved by promoting healthy activities.”
Although she did not know them personally, Robertson senior Adrian Roybal was thankful for the opportunity to honor the Collins-Gonzales family.
“It feels good to be part of this,” she said. “I’m glad we we’re able to share our knowledge with kids from our community.”
Margaret Duran added, “The kids seemed to have fun learning new things to improve their game. When it came time to scrimmage they all tried their hardest.”
More than just instruction, this week’s camp seemed to strike a perfect balance between education and fun. “We did our best to encourage the kids to stay active,” said Randall Schweigert, “we also gave a lot of piggy back rides and sometimes stopped the work to chase butterflies. “