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Cienega HS honors Travis Childress with memorial

Posted at 10:18 PM, May 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-22 01:18:39-04

It is supposed to be the happiest time in a teen's life, when they take that first big step into adulthood and graduate from high school. 

On Saturday, a family and a community were forced to grieve instead of celebrate as they mourned the loss of a senior who will not get to put on his cap and gown this week. 

18-year-old Travis Childress was killed last week in a car accident, along with the passenger - 16-year-old Madisyn Bertsch.

Cienega High School held a memorial service today for Childress, as he was set to graduate on Thursday. 

More than 200 people crowded into the high school's gymnasium, completely filling one side of the bleachers. People were still standing to sign the guest book up to 45 minutes after the event started.

"I know he would want me to talk and I know my friends all want to talk for him," said one friend. He tried powering through tears as he stood at the podium, addressing the crowd. 

But, emotions were very overwhelming for many close friends, family and classmates of Travis.

His aunt prepared a bible passage to read, but had to take many pauses, clutching her chest and looking down. 

However, the goal was to remember Travis for the big legacy he left behind in such a short life.

"He was so fearless," Kevin Childress said. He was Travis' uncle. "Fearless when he was riding his bike - fearless in so many things."
 
Fearless also was a great way to describe him on the stage. Travis had a passion for music, which was showcased with guitars on display. His music teacher, Steve Morgan sang his praises. 
 
"Travis had an ability that was given to him by God," Morgan said. "There's just no other way to explain it."
 
The memorial was a chance to share stories, cherish memories and say goodbye to a teen many say, left too soon. 
 
Travis was set to graduate on Thursday with his fellow Cienega High School graduates. His twin brother, Wyatt - will no longer have his brother beside him. But, he will have a strong show of support.