Prayer vigil honored Dayton student killed in accident

Candles are lit in memory of Tyrese Manigo at a vigil held Saturday at New Life Church in Kenefick.

On Saturday, two days after the tragic death of 14-year-old Tyrese Manigo, his friends, family members, and fellow students and teachers at Woodrow Wilson Junior High gathered to remember him at a candlelight vigil at New Life Church in Kenefick.

Tyrese was hit by a car and died early Thursday while riding his bike to school along SH 321.

Pastor George Finney led the vigil and asked the crowd that gathered to remember Tyrese with joy.

“Right now, all we remember is the tragic accident because we are so close to it. What we should remember is not the accident but the person himself. We should remember the great joy that he brought to people, the times that you all laughed together, the times you were eating lunch together and laughed at something. Those are the things we should remember him by,” said Finney.

Mechelle Perkins, assistant principal at Woodrow Wilson Junior High, shared her memories of Tyrese Manigo at a candlelight vigil on Saturday. Standing beside her is New Life Church Pastor George Finney.

Current and former teachers from Dayton ISD described Tyrese as an autistic student who was always running, always hungry and always smiling, and loved to visit his teachers, even when he was supposed to be in a different class.

“The thing I will miss most about Tyrese is his smile. At lunch, he would be all over the place. He was everywhere. Thursday was hard because he wasn’t there,” said Mechelle Perkins, assistant principal at Woodrow Wilson Junior High. “Something I want you to take away is his joy and that smile he had as he ran down the hallway. He had the fullest spirit. He was an angel here on earth.”

Jamie Neal, his science teacher, recalled that besides Legos and fruit, Tyrese began carrying a Magic 8-ball toy to school in his backpack.

“It was sometimes a challenge to get him to do work and that got harder when he started bringing the Magic 8-Ball. He started asking the Magic 8-Ball if he was going to work and that worked against me every day,” she said with a laugh.

Shaking the ball to get a prediction, Tyrese reportedly would tell her, “Nope. Signs point to no.”

At the end of the vigil, everyone gathered on the church lawn for a balloon release. As the balloons lifted into the sky, some of his friends said, “Fly high, Tyrese.”

A memorial service for Tyrese will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home Chapel in Dayton. The family will receive friends from 2 p.m. until the service starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday. 

Balloons lift into the sky at a vigil on Saturday at New Life Church in Kenefick in honor of Tyrese Manigo, a 14-year-old Dayton ISD student who was killed Thursday as he rode his bike to school.

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