Texas School Mourns Death of Fire Academy Student

Aug. 28--FORT WORTH -- The Eastern Hills High School community is mourning the death of one of its seniors, a bright student and standout in the fire academy.

Senior Katerin Romero was seen leaving the high school at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, district officials said. By 1 p.m. the 17-year-old was pronounced dead after jumping off the Beach Street overpass across Interstate 30, east of downtown. She was struck by a car, police said.

Investigators are treating the death as a suicide, police said.

"Everyone that had been in contact with her had positive conversations with her," Fort Worth school board member Tobi Jackson said.

Jackson said Romero was a "standout" and one of the few females in the Eastern Hills Fire Academy. Jackson said she is working on starting a scholarship in her name that supports the 80 students in the fire academy, which is part of the Fort Worth school district's Gold Seal Schools and Programs of Choice initiative.

"She was a natural leader, respected by her fellow academy cadets as well as the Hills staff," Jackson said. "She is greatly and deeply missed."

Romero was also on the Eastern Hills Highlanders softball team.

Her aunt, Cleris Erlinda Centeno, said she is leaving her Rio Grand City home on Friday to be with family.

"Her birthday was going to be on October 21. A day before my husband. He is devastated since he can't be there with the family. He was deported a few years back," Centeno said.

Centeno said there is going to be a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Thursday at Scarborough-Handley Field, 6201 Craig St. in Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth school district has an additional 16 counselors on campus helping teacher, staff and students, district officials said.

"While we know school should be the focus of a child's life, sometimes other events impact a student's ability to achieve. The Fort Worth ISD wants to help any of our family members find the proper coping strategies and solutions that will enable them to return to a healthy level of functioning in life and to improved performance in the classroom," the district released in a statement.

District officials referred to its Friends 4 Life program, an anonymous tip line on its web site and Fort Worth school district's mobile app that alerts intervention specialists to those that need help.

Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792 Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST

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