Academy Student’s Capstone Honors Friend and Classmate
Posted on 11/30/2017
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The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) hosted their annual Light the Night Walk in Bushnell Park this past October. This year, a senior from CREC’s Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts chose the event to celebrate her friend and fellow classmate, whose loss was felt deeply throughout the Academy family last year.    

To honor their friend Xzavier Hernandez, seniors Abelys Rivas, Haylee Munoz, Josue Rodriguez, Keishalee Mojica, and Kayla Huertas joined the dozens of families, friends, and survivors participating in the walk on October 19th. The walk began at sundown as attendees, holding color-coded lanterns (white for survivors, red for supporters, and gold for loved ones), encircled the park together. Xzavier’s friends and family, gold lanterns aloft,  cheered his name and sang in celebration of his life.

LLS exists with the express intention of “curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma and improve[ing] the quality of life of patients and their families” ( In 2016, through donations alone, LLS invested nearly $50 million in blood cancer research ( By participating, Xzavier’s friends not only honored their loved one but supported a cause which relieves the pains and stresses of cancer for countless patients and their families.

Abelys Rivas, who chose Light the Night as her Capstone community service project, had planned with great anticipation for the walk since last year. Her Capstone topic focuses on how cancer non-profits benefit those affected by the disease. Out of love for her friend, she led the chorus of voices singing his name that night. Faces golden with lantern light, Xzavier’s loved ones experienced the cathartic benefits of LLS’s Light the Night Walk while contributing to a cause close to their hearts.

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