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Vigil Held For Local Teen

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Northeast Philadelphia -

A community is dealing with a devastating loss. Students gathered tonight to honor a teen who died while saving the lives of others.

So much sadness, so much pain.

It's too much for many of Chris Alvelo's closest friends and classmates holding candles and sharing memories at a vigil in the parking lot of New Foundations Charter High School. The group gathered in the spot where the 17-year-old would park his car every day.

Marissa Ciusckis is president of the charter school's first graduating senior class and says most of the mourners are still shell-shocked by the fact that a big hole has been ripped into the tiny class of 2014.

"It's going to have a big effect on us. It already has. It's not going to be good the rest of the year," Ciusckis said. "It's crazy that he's not going to graduate with us. I mean we all started this high school four years ago together and we're supposed to finish it together."

"He never made anybody feel bad. He always made everyone feel good. To not have him with us anymore is still a shock. I think everyone's expecting him to walk through those doors," Jim Zimmerman, a friend of Chris Alvelo said.

A small group of classmates spoke but many were too emotional to share their thoughts still stunned at how he died.

Family members say Chris took the wheel of a pick-up truck when his step dad blacked out during a medical emergency.

Chris pulled the vehicle full of teenagers away from several tanks full of potentially flammable liquids, but it crashed into a van. Chris died on the scene.

"Although he won't be at graduation, he still is always going to be a part of our class. Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog," Ciusckis said.

His teachers say Chris was top notch.

"He was pretty much the ideal student. Really polite. Really respectful. Really friendly. Always had a smile on his face and always got really good grades," Peter Beck said.

The crowd let several balloons fly in honor of a teen headed into the air force after graduation.

His classmates say they are thankful for the good times and see Chris's death of a reminder that life can change in an instant.

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