Jaciel Tellez

Jaciel Tellez

Jaciel Tellez was a third-grader who loved LEGOS, computers and Cartoon Network, according to former classmates from Franklin School in Santa Barbara who gathered Friday to honor his life.

They imagine he’s still doing some of those things today, Franklin Principal Casie Killgore said, even though he’s not there to start school this year with his friends.

Jaciel, 8, was killed Aug. 24, 2010, when a gravel truck crashed into his home at 4119 State St., near the Hope Ranch Inn, killing Jaciel, his mother, Lorena Guadalupe-Tellez Pacheco, and father, Leon Leonel.

The driver of the big rig, Joaquin Garcia Morales, lost control of his brakes while traveling down Highway 154 from San Marcos Pass. He pleaded no contest to reduced misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter in the spring and is expected to be sentenced to up three years in jail in September.

The family of the victims also has filed a civil lawsuit against Morales for wrongful death.

Several hundred students and faculty gathered Friday on the school’s lawn to focus on the positive side of Jaciel’s brief life.

Killgore told the group about a permanent mosaic embedded in the school’s front wall. An eagle soars through a blue sky in the mural, and was made by fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at the school last year in honor of Jaciel.

A smaller square mosaic was installed next to it, and is a replica of an art project Jaciel made in second grade. The original is with Jaciel’s grandmother in Mexico.

A small mosaic installed next to the larger mural is a replica of an art project Jaciel Tellez made in second grade.

A mosaic installed next to the larger mural is a replica of a project Jaciel Tellez made in second grade. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s a way to keep his memory alive and a place for his family to visit when they’re here,” Killgore said.

A smaller memorial sits under the tree in the school’s courtyard.

Jaciel’s aunt, Monserratt Pacheco, spoke to the crowd in Spanish, thanking the school and the students for the tribute.

Susan Pico, Jaciel’s third-grade teacher, also spoke. The class made a large poster after they learned of his death.

“It wasn’t filled with sadness; it was filled with kind words and good memories,” Pico said. “He brightened their lives, and I know he touched all of you.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at lcooper@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper

— Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at lcooper@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.