Senior Anne Sophia Hurtado, a light of American Heritage, passed five days after her 18 birthday from pancreatic cancer. She wanted people to “Live your life and laugh a little while you are at it, too.” Hurtado was like every teenage girl: she loved her friends, had a crush and couldn’t wait to turn 18. She had dreams and hopes and goals like everyone else. However, what made Hurtado different was her continuous strength and love for others.
“Everyone on campus either loved her or didn’t know her,” senior Kayla Myers said.
In Hurtado’s “Cancer Chronicles” blog, she consistently started her posts with “hey lovelies,” and ended with “love yah.” She was honest about her struggles with mental health in the process dealing with pancreatic cancer and urged people to seek help if they needed it. Most of all, she loved school. Sophia could be best described as a true patriot.
“To me, it is not even a school, it is more like a small town,” Hurtado said in her blog post entitled “Brains.”
Her love of Heritage’s community lay clear in her passion for cheer and hope to make everyone feel at home.
“She’s been at Heritage for so long I think she wanted everyone to feel that sense of family that she did,” Myers said.
To her cheer family, she was successful.
“Everything we do will be for her always,” senior Gianna Clemente said. “Even when we’re grown up, it’s always going to be for her.”
Clemente described Sophia as a superhero.
“She has the ability to be funny and light hearted and keep things, you know, and even make you smile when you’re having the worst day ever,” Clemente said. “But she also is there if you need to talk to someone or if you need to sit down and cry your eyes out.”
Besides being a shoulder to cry on, Hurtado was also a proud Latina and loved being in the spotlight. She described one of her favorite memories as going to Student Television Network in Nashville during her freshman year with the broadcast team.
She was proud, kind, funny and authentically herself. She had plans to become a nurse practitioner and never gave up. To Sophia, the latter simply was not an option.
“She’ll always instantly cheer you up, no matter what she does or says, like she’s a beacon of light in everyone’s darkness,” senior Tyra Wilkerson, who was friends with Hurtado since they were three years old, said.
Her last wish was to be remembered. Sophia will live on through her relationships on campus, her cheer corner and a soon-to-be-installed bench with a plaque in her honor. As for now, she has become one with the universe and eternally surrounded by love. To keep her memory alive, Ms. Gedan created an e-card to send to the Hurtado family. NHS will also continue to host their Bento Box fundraiser Tuesday, Nov. 3 all day, with proceeds going to the GoFundMe to help with medical and funeral expenses.