ATHENS, Texas — One week ago, Athens Middle School student Christopher Bonilla died after an oncoming freight train hit his school bus at a crossing on Cream Level Road. He was 13.
Out of the tragedy came a sense of unity among those in Athens, Bonilla's rallying around the family and the students who shared their lives with him.
On Friday, the Athens community packed the high school's gymnasium to bid a heartfelt farewell to Bonilla.
People of all ages and backgrounds sat in sea of maroon shirts, many saying Athens Strong, showing how the tragedy has galvanized this tightly-knit community.
The service was a traditional Catholic funeral mass. A choir performed songs with Bonilla's casket, covered in gold, white and purple, standing out front.
The priest reminded those attending that while they collectively mourn Bonilla's passing, there hope and light for those devastated