AZTEC, N.M. (KRQE) – She was always smiling- that’s how Casey Jordan, one of the victims of the Aztec high school shooting is being remembered.
The 17-year-old was honored Sunday by her peers, community members and cheerleaders from around the state.
Those who knew Casey best said she embraced everyone with love. Now, they plan to honor her memory by living each day just like she did.
Casey Jordan’s family filed into the San Juan College auditorium Sunday, followed by a slew of uniforms, Casey’s own Aztec cheer squad and other teams from around the state.
“Those are her friends. There have been people who have reached out from all over the country that she’s made friends with and that’s how she is, she reaches out to individuals,” family friend Brice Current said.
“Who could possibly forget five cups of coffee every day,” said teacher David Williams.
Memories of the 17-year-old served as a source of comfort.
“Everything that I’ve been told about Casey is she was a bit of a jokester and she kind of liked to lighten the mood,” said teacher James Foster.
To teachers, Casey was a light in halls of Aztec high.
“Blinded by hatred, the shooter could not see the grace surrounding Casey,” Williams said.
To her peers, a leader, who made everyone feel included.
“You see someone sitting alone in a classroom or sitting alone in the lunch room. Casey actually took my daughter, she’s a freshman around the school her first day of school,” Current said.
Her family hopes Casey’s legacy of love and kindness will live on through every life she touched.
“Don’t forget anybody out there. Everybody matters and to her everybody mattered,” family friend John Faverino said.
Governor Susana Martinez also spoke at the memorial.
“You need to be proud of what she was. The sad thing is we have lost someone that would have lived on to be great,” Martinez said.
For Aztec high, the road to healing is one they will navigate together.
“I know it’s going to be rough for those kids to come back but every student that stepped up outside my door and has given me great strength and hope that we are going to do this together,” teacher Fritz Polk said.
During the service, the Aztec cheer team presented Casey’s family with a cheer bow signed by the entire squad.
The community held a unity bonfire Sunday night for students before they return to school Monday.