Students at Waupaca High School are mourning the loss of a classmate, Victoria Mendoza.
Teachers at WHS informed students of Victoria’s death Monday, April 4, at the beginning of sixth period.
“A lot of kids had a close relationship with her,” said Carl Eggebrecht, who is a principal at WHS. “They’ve known her from grade school on and knew all the challenges she faced in life. A lot of students have taken it very hard.”
Eggebrecht said the school offered students counseling, and counselors from the elementary and middle schools came to the high school to meet with students.
Victoria had merosin-deficient dystrophy, a congenital disease that confined her to a wheelchair. Her brother, Antonio, died of the same disease more than a decade ago.
“She has been an active student up until this year,” Eggebrecht said. “She always enjoyed coming down at the end of the day and socializing with the students.”
A junior, Victoria attended Saturday’s prom and post-prom party.
She was also anonymously featured in a story by Angie Landsverk in December 2005. The article highlighted how members of the community had worked together to create “Victoria’s Secret Christmas,” remodeling a small building behind her family’s home so she and her four siblings could have some place to play.
“I know I speak for all the students and teachers here when I say my sympathy goes out to the family,” Eggebrecht said.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at Faith Community Church, Waupaca. Visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, April 29, at the family’s home, 423 Bailey St., Waupaca.