The Student Government Association will host an annual memorial, Jaguars Remembered, to honor four students who died this past year. The ceremony will be held 7 p.m. April 22 in the President’s Rose Garden at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
The SGA will partner with the Dean of Students and the Alumni Association to honor family members and recognize members of the Jaguar family lost this academic year. The annual event started in spring 2017 to memorialize Jaguar students and alumni who have died.
The four undergraduate students are interdisciplinary studies sophomore Anthony Rithman, psychology senior Abel Huizar, biology freshman Marikate Maggio and interdisciplinary studies senior Antonio Ramos.
According to The Echo, a local newspaper that serves Helotes, Leon Valley and Alamo Ranch, Rithman was found dead in his car at the Sunset Northwest Funeral Home on Jan. 29. According to The Mesquite, Maggio died after her vehicle was struck by an 18-wheeler Sept. 26, 2018, near Calaveras Lake. Huizar died Aug. 21, 2018, and Ramos died June 13, 2018, according to Jo Anna Benavides-Franke, assistant vice president for Student Engagement and Dean of Students.
Benavides-Franke said Huizar was a corporal in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Persian Gulf War.
“It’s a somber event to just remember them and honor their time here at A&M-San Antonio,” Marissa Lyssy, a finance senior and SGA president, said in an interview March 29 in the Student Activities conference room.
The family members of the students will receive a coin that has the university’s Jaguar logo and a yellow rose.
“Jaguars Remembered is our version of Aggie Muster day,” Katherine Riley, a history senior and SGA vice president, said in an interview March 29 in the Student Activities workroom.
“We brought that tradition here to Texas A&M-San Antonio to remember all of our Jaguars who have passed away this past year,” Riley said.
Jaguars Remembered was established by Mary Walker, SGA vice president, during the spring 2017 semester. Twenty-five students have been honored since the first ceremony in 2017.
Lyssy said the atmosphere of the event is usually “somber, serious and sad because the families are there crying.”
“Dr. Mahan did cry when she was delivering her speech last year,” Lyssy said.
Melissa Mahan is the vice president for Student Affairs at A&M-San Antonio. This year, Cynthia Teniente-Matson, A&M-San Antonio’s president, will speak.
Although Jaguars Remembered is typically solemn, Riley said it also can include laughter, especially when loved ones share happy memories.
“You don’t see a lot of laughing,” Riley said. “Although, we do hope to pull that in this year with the remembrance of Marikate because she did create friendships.”
Lyssy said they expect a good student turnout this year because the students being honored were involved on campus.
They hope to promote Jaguars Remembered more this year. SGA will table on the day of the event to inform students, staff and faculty.
SGA only uses the President’s Rose Garden for this event. They do not do tabling events or other activities there.
Riley is responsible for the welcoming and closing speeches. Lyssy will manage the procession and moment of silence and the senators will assist with handing out the coins and yellow flowers to the families.
After the event, hosts will offer a small reception with food and drinks.
Managing Editor Timothy Shieff contributed to this report.