TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - While Victoria Arias passed away in July, the Tucson community is finding new ways to celebrate her life. At Desert View High School, the students and staff decided to put on their winter musical, "Mariachi Girl," in honor of Victoria.
"She was a Mariachi girl. She had it in her blood," Salvador Gallegos said.
He is the Mariachi instructor for the show, and also was Victoria's teacher for five years. He explained he has a close relationship with the Arias family, and is proud to help make her memory live on.
"I'm very happy to be a part of this," Gallegos said. "And to be able to do this for her."
Victoria graduated from San Miguel High School, not Desert View. However, many of her family members went there, including her mother Lorena, her father Michael, and sister Desiree.
In July, Victoria was found unresponsive at the bottom of her family's pool. After spending two days in the intensive care unit at the hospital, she died. The medical examiner's office ruled her death an accidental drowning.
Ericka Quintero is the theater teacher at Desert View High School. She explained at the end of each show, after the actors bow, they'll have a moment to honor Victoria. Quintero said she was so moved by the family's love of Victoria and community support, that this play was the perfect choice.
"They celebrate her, and that's beautiful," Quintero said. "That's a part of our culture -- to celebrate. Their life, and their passing."
The Arias family was there for opening night, and said they'll be there every night -- to see this beautiful tribute to their Mariachi girl.
"When Erica, the drama teacher, reached out to us shortly after Victoria passed and asked us if she could do this play in her honor, right away, immediately, we said yes," Michael Arias said.
Her mother, Lorena, says she was flattered.
"I would have never imagined it," she said. "It's very special."