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Alief Hastings organize crawfish boil fundraiser to help recovering student

HOUSTON – Alief Hastings High School administrators, teachers and students organized a crawfish boil fundraiser Saturday afternoon for a beloved student in need.

Anthony Velasquez, 18, was hit by a car in the fall and has since fought to recover, suffering from trauma to his head and legs. Now the community has come together to continue their support for this high school senior.

“The community has all come out,” said Lynette Miller, a teacher and the organizer of the fundraiser.

Velasquez is lucky to be alive after being hit by a cafeteria worker, who investigators said was driving recklessly and hit the student.

“It’s been a tough journey no doubt. But we knew with faith and prayers and the community coming together [would support] his family in the tough time,” said Tonya Stidhum, Velasquez’s counselor.

All funds raised will go to help Anthony’s family with medical expenses.

Tony Fontenot and his team donated their time and food.

"When I first heard about it, it was gut-wrenching, and it was something we had to do," Fontenot said.

Many students were eager to attend as well.

“In Alief, Hastings...we’re all together and whatever happens, it affects all of us,” said student Kimberly Hernandez.

“He’s not alone. There are people here who he can talk to and ask for help,” said student Aymia Mills.

They hoped to encourage Velasquez throughout his journey to recovery.

I wanted to come and show my support that I haven’t forgotten him that I’m still hoping the best for him,” said a former teacher of Velasquez’s Denise Billing.

Stay positive, do what is asked of you from the therapists, continue to work hard and stay focused on what you need to do,” said Alief Hastings Assistant Principal Eric Pearson.

To Velasquez, who attended the fundraiser and was greeted by applause, this event meant the world.

“I feel a lot better being here,” Velasquez said.

Velasquez said this journey has taught him many lessons.

To never give up and go to church,” he said.