STAMFORD, Conn. — A GoFundMe has been launched for a memorial scholarship in honor of a Stamford High student who was struck and killed while crossing the street in front of the school on her way to take the SAT.
Karina Tinajero, an 18-year-old senior at Stamford High, died in Stamford Hospital after the accident on Strawberry Hill Avenue last weekend.
"The students, staff, and community of Stamford High School are grieving," says the GoFundMe , started by Raymond Manka, the school's principal.
"She was a hardworking, amazing young woman who had much to offer the world," Manka said. "Karina took great pride in her work and studies and was a straight-A student. She received several awards from the school for her focus on academics as well as contributing to the greater community of learners by supporting and helping other students. She was a role model, a leader, a friend and on her way to college destined for greatness."
Funds raised will become the foundation of the Karina Tinajero Memorial Scholarship. A yearly award will be presented to a high-performing senior in the English Learner program headed for college.
So far, a total of $3,206 of the $10,000 goal had been raised in four days.
Sophomore Mariana Jimenez was friends with Tinajero and remembered her fondly in an interview Thursday with Daily Voice. Tinajero was always willing to help others and was a very involved member of the school community, Jimenez said.
"She would always say hi with a smile to everyone," Jimenez said.
Stamford city and school officials promised new safety improvements will be in place in front of Stamford High beginning Monday as a result of the tragic accident.
The first step is a new crosswalk on Strawberry Hill directly in front of Stamford High's front entrance. Tinajero was struck was in that area, which students frequently use. The crosswalk will be ready for Monday, and there will be a police presence at the scene, city officials said during a press conference Thursday.
Jimenez and 11th-grader Fabio Luco said students cross the street in front of the school even though there is no crosswalk or crossing guard there. It is the quickest and easiest way to get to the school, the said.
Luco said using the crosswalk down the street, where five streets intersect — Strawberry Hill Avenue, Hillandale Avenue, Prospect Street, Hoyt Street and Grove Street — is too busy and too far away.
"It's not very convenient," he said. "It's complicated. There are too many cars; you don't know where to look."
Along with the crosswalk, there will be school zone signs, yield to pedestrian stanchions, variable message signs to warn drivers they are in a school area and "Slow School" pavement markings.
Officials hope there will be traffic signals installed at the crosswalk next year but said that needs state approval.
Manka said it has been a tough week for students and staff. "She is dearly missed and will always be a part of our Stamford High School Black Knight family," he said of Tinajero.
A memorial was held for her at the school, and flowers and a Mexican flag remained at the flagpole on the school's property.
Click here for the GoFundMe page SHS Student Memorial Scholarship.