SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Less than a month ago, two Southeast High School graduates from Manatee County lost their lives on a graduation trip to Peru.
The two were on scooters when a bus hit and killed them. Now, their parents are making efforts to keep their son’s memories alive.
On Thursday, both families of the boys set up a scholarship fund in their honor as they prepare to say their final goodbyes this weekend.
“In starting the Sim Club, I think it’s a good thing that it can continue once we’ve graduated, once we’re gone. If the Sim Club can stick around to do something like this or a global outreach or community service where they’ll learn a lot of things, that will help them in the world, but they can do something that will help other people. I think that’s a cool legacy to leave behind.”
This interview was provided to ABC7 by the Manatee County School District, an interview with Zachary Morris and Alex Ales weeks before their deaths in Peru. Both of them were speaking about their passion and the legacy they’d want to leave behind.
Their legacy will now live on through a scholarship fund in their honor. “The scholarship is a beautiful way of carrying their memory forward. The boys spent more time here at school than they did at home for the last four years.”
The endowment will give scholarships to two Southeast High School students yearly. Those students will have to be in the inter-baccalaureate program which is a challenging honors program.
The same program both teens, Zachary Morris and Alex Ales, were in and graduated from at Southeast High School. Both excelled in the program and had plans to attend college.
“The understanding that they met and flourished here at Southeast High School and the IB Program having that endowment and having their names live on here is important to us,” Albert Ales, father of Alex, said.
$44,000 has already been raised for the scholarship fund; the goal is $250,000.
As the teen’s parents work to keep their son’s memory alive. They are still searching for answers that will bring closure to their devastating loss.
Both families now searching for the doctor who attended to the teens moments before they died.
“The families would like to thank this good Samaritan and ask if the boys had any last words that they would have liked him to share with us,” a representative spokesman for the families said.
A Celebration of Life ceremony is set for both teens this Saturday at Woodland Community Church on State Road 70 in Bradenton. That service is open to the public.