(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) Students at Washington-Lee High School have joined together to organize a candlelight vigil for classmate John Malvar, who was killed in a skateboarding accident yesterday (Tuesday).
18-year-old Malvar had been skateboarding while holding on to the back of a truck driven by a 17-year-old friend. He sustained significant head trauma and went into cardiac arrest after falling to the ground.
The vigil will take place tonight at 8:30 on the Quincy Street side of school, in the green space near the new softball field, according to Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia. Students organized the vigil and sat down with the school’s principal this morning to finalize details. Attendees are encouraged to walk or carpool due to lack of parking for all the people expected to attend.
According to Washington-Lee PTA President Kathi Driggs, as of 6:30 a.m. more than 700 students had signed up to attend the vigil. Attendees have been asked to wear black to the ceremony. Driggs also said that donations for the family are being accepted at the school.
Washington-Lee High School Principal Gregg Robertson issued the following statement today:
“Yesterday, Washington-Lee lost an incredible young man. I know things like that are often said of individuals that pass away; however for John, it could not be a truer statement. I will never see a brighter smile than that of John Malvar. He was thrilled last week when he received his perfect attendance award. I think that is very telling of his determination and dedication to himself and others. I’m very proud of the Washington-Lee community during this difficult time. Students in particular are coming together to celebrate John’s life and the contributions he made to his fellow classmates and to our school. In the coming days and weeks, all of us will remember John’s life in many ways. John will always remain close to our hearts and be remembered for the caring, outstanding young man he was.”
Malvar was supposed to graduate later this month. Right now, it’s unclear whether there will be any further vigils or a special recognition of Malvar at the graduation ceremony.
“I think the students, staff and administrators are still trying to wrap their heads around what happened,” said Bellavia.