By Zack Quaintance — The Monitor
EDINBURG — The Edinburg North High School cheerleading squad spent Wednesday afternoon mourning the loss of a teammate.
Cassie Martinez, a 15-year-old sophomore, died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a two-car crash.
Wrought with distress, her teammates met with school social workers Wednesday afternoon.
They brainstormed words to describe Martinez: high-spirited, positive, respectful, dedicated.
“She was just a very positive person that’s going to be sorely missed,” said Gilbert Tagle, a spokesman for the Edinburg school district.
Martinez was eastbound on Mile 17 1/2 North Road on Tuesday afternoon when the Mazda she was driving collided with a Ford pickup truck at the intersection with Hoehn Drive. Investigators believe she had failed to yield the right of way at a stop sign.
Paramedics took Martinez, who was wearing her seatbelt, to McAllen Medical Center, where she remained in critical condition until her death.
Four others walked away from the crash with minor injuries, said Trooper Johnny Hernandez, said Trooper Johnny Hernandez, the local spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. He was unsure how many people were in each vehicle, because he did not have access to the crash report when contacted.
Martinez had an instruction permit, which allows a beginning driver to operate a vehicle with a front-seat passenger who is at least 21 years old and has a valid license.
A pall descended on Edinburg High this week as students started the school year knowing that one of their own was fighting for her life.
The loss finally hit Wednesday. Social workers from other schools came to the school to talk with distressed students.
Art and art history teacher Manuel Saenz Jr. taught Martinez last year. He said a number of students came to him concerned about her death.
“I’ll miss her smile the most,” Saenz said. “She was always smiling, even when I would get after her. That just makes it worse.”
Martinez made excellent grades at Edinburg North, qualifying for both honor roll and advanced courses.
She had a passion for dancing, which she brought to Edinburg North’s junior varsity cheerleading squad.
Martinez’s parents have requested cheerleaders be given a day off school Friday to attend the funeral. The parents named the squad honorary pallbearers.