Series of tragedies strike Lehman High School over holiday break 

A series of tragedies hit the Lehman High and Hays CISD communities during the holiday break, prompting district officials to help guide students and staff through the grieving process. 

According to a district letter sent to parents, district officials were informed on Christmas Eve of the death of Joshua Gregorio “J” Marquez, who was a Lehman High freshman. Details of Marquez’ death are unknown at this time.  

According to his obituary, Marquez loved music and aspired to be a rapper, doing so in front of his friends and family.

Marquez would go “the extra mile” for his mother and supported his friends and classmates through difficult times. 

Roughly 24 hours later, district officials were notified of the death of Juan Manuel Martinez-Soliz, who was a longtime custodian at Lehman High. 

According to his obituary, Martinez-Soliz passed away suddenly at St. David’s Hospital in Austin on Christmas evening. 

On Dec. 27, district officials learned of the death of Michael Mince, 15, of Kyle, who was killed in a tragic hit and run incident along FM 2001 in Niederwald. 

“The Lehman High School and Hays CISD communities have suffered two tragedies during the past three days,” said Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy in a statement. “Anytime a student dies it is tremendously painful, but particularly when it happens during the holiday season. Our hearts are heavy and we are praying for the families of Joshua and Michael. We are mourning the losses, but also finding comfort in knowing that these two precious students gave us so many gifts and joyous memories during their short time with us.”

Hays CISD crisis counselors will be on hand at Lehman High when students and staff return to school Jan. 5. 

Below is the letter sent to Hays CISD parents:

Dear Hays CISD and Lehman HS Facebook family. We have some sad news to report. We lost two LHS students this Christmas break. Here is a statement we just sent to local media. I wanted to share it with you as well: 

Lehman High School Principal Denisha Presley and Hays CISD Superintendent Michael McKie regret to announce that two students have died in two unrelated incidents during the Christmas break. 

On Christmas Eve, the district learned that Lehman freshman Joshua Gregorio “J” Marquez died. His obituary and funeral plans are online at: http://www.harrellfuneralhomes.com/obituaries/Joshua-Marquez/#!/Obituary. 

On December 27, 2016, the district learned that Lehman sophomore Michael Mince was killed while walking alongside a roadway in Kyle. Funeral plans are pending. 

“The Lehman High School and Hays CISD communities have suffered two tragedies during the past three days,” said Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy. “Anytime a student dies it is tremendously painful, but particularly when it happens during the holiday season. Our hearts are heavy and we are praying for the families of Joshua and Michael. We are mourning the losses, but also finding comfort in knowing that these two precious students gave us so many gifts and joyous memories during their short time with us.” 

Hays CISD Crisis counselors will be on campus at Lehman High School when students return on Thursday, January 5, 2017. The full impact of the loss will affect most students when they return to campus without the presence of two of their peers. The district has also provided parents with information online to help them speak with their children about the loss of a friend.

For students who were much closer to Joshua and Michael, the immediate crisis of the loss may not be able to wait until school resumes. We are recommending families reach out to their medical providers should emergency counseling be necessary. Additionally, students and families may call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Though this number is marketed as a suicide prevention lifeline, the 24—hour counselors also provide assistance to teens and families suffering other emotional distresses. It is the district’s partner hotline used on the Hays Hopeline service.

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