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Funeral Mass For Reading High School Student Who Was Killed

By Melissa Fullerton
Published On: Aug 24 2011 12:38:53 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 18 2010 05:06:00 AM CDT
READING, Pa. -

A Reading teenager was remembered fondly Monday. Family and friends packed a local church for the funeral for David Arango, who was killed last week.

A crowd stood silently outside of St. Peter's Catholic Church on South 5th Street as pall bearers carried the casket holding 18-year-old David Arango's body into the church.

Arango was found dead in a city baseball field last week.

"As a teacher, I was devastated," said Reading High School Environmental Science teacher Jeannine Michel. She said the loss of one of her students was unbearable. But she knew it was also an opportunity to educate, both her class and the Arango family.

"I asked all of my students to write letters. They wrote letters to David saying the things they never got to say."

The students also wrote to David's family, giving a window into the junior's daily life.

"They're going to see what he was like and how everyone viewed him here," Michel said.

Jeannine gave the bundle of letters to the Arango family over the weekend.

"The mom was very emotional when we gave her the letters," Michel said. "But my hope is she will be able to read them when she's ready, that the family will be able to read them and hopefully get just wonderful memories about David and know that he's not just a statistic, that we love him and we're going to miss him everyday."

For students in the Reading School District, this is the second classmate lost to violence in a little more than a month.

15-year-old Willy Tineo was killed in September.

"Kids are afraid," Michel said. And this science teacher says the subject matter in her classroom has become something much more difficult to grasp.

"I've had kids coming in and out, even today, that just want to come in and sit and look at his picture and just be, and that's ok."