With heavy hearts, students and teachers at South San High School came together Wednesday night to remember a popular student who was killed in an accident last weekend.
Natalie Tovar, 17, was hit and killed by a car on Saturday night near Lytle.
With the help of South San teachers, senior class officers held an emotional candlelight vigil in Tovar's memory on campus.
Natalie's mother, Veronica Tovar, said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring support for her daughter.
"We couldn't have gotten through this with all this support," Veronica said. "The community has done a lot for us."
Hundreds of classmates and teachers joined the Tovar family outside the entrance to South San high school to remember the teen known for her smile and sense of humor.
"She was so hilarious, she was so funny," said Valerie Tovar, Natalie's older sister. "I think that's why she had so many friends because people were just drawn to her."
According to family, Natalie was returning home from Natalia Saturday around 7 p.m. when she got a flat tire on IH-35 near Lytle.
"She was able to safely pull over on the shoulder lane," Valerie said. "As she was crossing the access road she was struck by a vehicle."
Natalie's death sent shock waves through the campus, her close friends and classmates were stunned to learn the popular teen was gone just nine days before her 18th birthday.
As students try to cope with the loss, Natalie's teachers are also trying to make sense of the tragedy.
"I think my students have learned this week to not take each other for granted," said Rick Otley, one of Natalie's teachers. "She taught them to love every moment they have and to be happy for the life that God gave them."
As they grieved alongside their daughter's friends, the Tovar family said they found some comfort knowing Natalie touched so many lives in such a short time.
"She was always there for anybody and she would welcome anybody over to our house with my wife and daughter and would bring anyone in that needed help," said Felipe Tovar, Natalie's dad.
A Rosary service will be held for Natalie Thursday starting at 7 p.m. at the Trevino Funeral Home located at 2525 Palo Alto Road.
A funeral procession will depart the funeral home Friday at 9 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. Mass of Resurrection at St. Clare Catholic Church with interment to follow in First Memorial Burial Park.