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'This really hurts': Arlene Alvarez remembered at 5th-grade graduation ceremony

Arlene was only 9 years old when she was caught in the crossfire of a shooting on Feb. 14, 2022.

HOUSTON — A little girl who was shot and killed during a Valentine's Day outing with her family would have graduated from the fifth grade this year. 

Arlene Alvarez was 9 years old when she was killed in 2022 after a man who was trying to shoot a robbery suspect fired into her family's vehicle instead. 

Editor's note: The above video originally aired on Feb. 13.

On Wednesday, Arlene was honored by De Zavala Elementary when her classmates had their 5th-grade graduation ceremony. The school included an empty chair to symbolize that Arlene isn't forgotten. 

"It was really beautiful that they honored my baby girl," mom Gwen Alvarez said on Facebook. "It was hard not to cry and hear my babies' friends cheer when we walked on stage."

Arlene's 4th-grade teacher, Mrs. Keller, presented the girl's parents with an honorary certificate.  

"I’m super fragile but one thing for sure, I made the right choice on putting my kids in this school, because DeZavala sure is pure family, and my baby was so loved by this school," Gwen wrote. "I will never forget this."

Today is going to be a sad day, today my daughters 5th grade classmates will be graduating, and my daughters school will...

Posted by Gwen Alvarez on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Before the ceremony, she shared an emotional post and admitted that attending the graduation would be tough.

"Today is going to be a sad day, today my daughters 5th grade classmates will be graduating, and my daughters school will be honoring my baby girl Arlene, I never thought I would attend my babies graduation like this, I know she was looking forward for middle school, I know by this year she would’ve had bloomed more beautiful, by this time we both would’ve been in the restroom curling her hair and getting her ready for later on, she would’ve had her nails done because this day was the day she was waiting for

I lost my sleep all night, I want to hold strong because I don’t want to cry, because I don’t want my daughters friends to see me cry. Today is the day all of my babies friends separate and everyone will go their own way, please God protect and coat them with your shield, I have grown so much feelings for every little baby that was very good friends with my baby girl!

This really hurts, I won’t be seeing my babies friends next year, through my babies friends I was able to see a little bit of Arlene and feel the warmth through her little friends. I will be missing their little hugs, their letters to me, their little smiles, their good byes to me on the daily.

I wish all of these babies the best of love, and the very best in life, today is definitely going to hit different, my baby girl won’t be walking today"

Earlier this month, Gwen and her husband Armando welcomed a beautiful baby girl and named her Arlette. 

Credit: Alvarez family
The family of 9-year-old shooting victim Arlene Alvarez attended what would have been her 5th-grade graduation ceremony.

Dios me regalo la flor más hermosa en este día, Te amamos mucho mi amor 𝒜𝓇𝓁𝑒𝓉𝓉𝑒 𝐿𝓎𝓃𝑒𝓉𝓉𝑒 𝒜𝓁𝓋𝒶𝓇𝑒𝓏 🌼

Posted by Gwen Alvarez on Wednesday, May 10, 2023

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