St. Mary's Central High School comes together for student injured in fatal explosion

By  | 

BISMARCK, N.D. - To an outsider walking down the St. Mary's hallway, it may seem like just an ordinary day. But for these students, ordinary is the last word to describe what they're feeling.

A part of their family is missing - Elianna Vazquez.

"I was shocked, and then once it set in I was kind of crying," says Brianna Scherr, senior.

Senior Brianna Scherr was on the phone with Elianna the night before an explosion destroyed her house and left her mother and stepfather dead.

Elianna's friend Emma Hepper says the accident has taken a toll on the student body.

"A home explosion - that doesn't happen. You don't ever hear about that happening, so it was just incredible. Everybody was just dead silent and throughout the entire school too," says Hepper.

But for the girl who loves music, loves being active, and is friends with everyone, they couldn't stay passive for too long.

Hepper started a GoFundMe account for Vazquez's personal and medical expenses. It raised more than $30,000 in a day.

"We've been good friends, and I thought this is the least I can do to give back to her," says Hepper.

The school created a giving tree for gift cards and presents and will be holding several jeans days to raise money for her.

An Elianna Vazquez Trust is also being set up.

"When one of your family members is down and out, it affects the entire family," says Reed Ruggles, principal.

Principal Ruggles says there has been an outpouring of support and prayer from faculty and families.

"You're not alone. You have your family here. We love you, and we'll be with you as you walk through this," says Ruggles.

And they're ready to walk beside her, and welcome Elianna back to the St. Mary's family with open arms.

If you would like to donate to Elianna Vazquez's GoFundMe page, visit​.

If you would like to give the Elianna Vazquez Trust Fund, all checks and cash can be sent to St. Mary's Central High School or dropped off at any Kirkwood Bank & Trust location.